Americans who do not know they have sleep apnea cost the nation almost $150 billion every year in lost productivity, as well as car and workplace accidents, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
The AASM released its findings in August in two white papers—an analysis titled “Hidden Health Crisis Costing America Billions” and a companion report, “In an Age of Constant Activity, the Solution to Improving the Nation’s Health May Lie in Helping It Sleep Better.”
Obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep-related breathing disorder, is estimated to affect 12% of the U.S. population.
In addition to the hefty $150 billion price tag, which includes $86.9 billion in lost productivity, $26.2 billion in motor vehicle accidents and $6.5 billion in workplace accidents, the AASM estimates another $30 billion is spent on increased health care and medication for related diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and depression, a news release from the organization says.
Conversely, the AASM calculated that treating everyone in the United States who has sleep apnea would lead to an annual $100 billion in savings.
“Patients often report that they feel like a new person after treatment,” says Ronald Chervin, AASM president. “Restoring healthy sleep is essential for optimal health.”