How Common is Sleep Apnea?

Have you ever wondered how many Sleepy Yetis are out there? Sleep apnea is surprising common, but many people don’t realize they could be at-risk. Sleep apnea comes with serious health risks, so it is important to consider whether it is an issue that may affect you. Better safe than sorry, yetis!

How Many Canadians Have Sleep Apnea?

According to Statistics Canada, in 2016-17, 6.4% of Canadians were officially diagnosed with sleep apnea. Of course, this figure excludes Canadians living with the illness undiagnosed. According to sleep experts, about 80% of cases are under-diagnosed. The Public Health Agency of Canada published a study, estimating 5.4 million adult Canadians are living with or at high risk for sleep apnea.

Who is At-Risk for Sleep Apnea?

Low diagnosis rates are attributed to the inconspicuous nature of the condition. The most obvious signs, like snoring and breathing pauses, happen when a sleepy yeti is, well, sleeping! Daytime symptoms are easily misinterpreted or brushed aside. Reasons you may be "tired" run the gamut. Knowing if you're at-risk for sleep apnea, may help you determine whether it is the culprit behind your poor concentration or constant yawning on-the-job. And according to Statistics Canada, in 2017, nearly 1/3rd of Canadians were at-risk for sleep apnea!  

  • Older adults - Data reveals that as you age, your risk for sleep apnea increases. 1/5th of adults aged 40 to 59 was at high risk, and 1/4th of older adults aged 60 to 79, whereas only 1/10th of younger adults were at risk.
  • Males -  one in four males is at-risk for sleep apnea, which may be due to differences in fat distribution. Although females are two times more likely to present high BMI, men were still three times more likely to display high neck circumference. One in four males was considered high risk , which was five times higher than females.
  • Overweight Individuals - although sleep apnea can be attributed to hereditary traits, the primary trigger for sleep apnea appears to be weight. Excess weight increases likelihood of airway obstruction. A study found exercise of 15 minutes a day, significantly decreased sleep apnea symptoms.


Alright sleepy yetis, I hope this post helped spread some awareness about the prevalence of sleep apnea in Canada. It is nothing to be embarrassed about but it is an issue that deserves treatment so you can put your best (big) foot forward! 

Alright, I'm signing off for now, I have an appointment at the yeti fur salon, and trust me that takes forever!