Snoring Away Your Money

Sleep-related breathing disorders take a financial toll

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A study by the University of Copenhagen analyzed the economic consequences and personal financial toll that sleep-related breathing disorders take on society and individual patients suffering from these problems.

Sleep apnea, in which people stop breathing at various points throughout their sleep, affects more than 12 million Americans. In addition to that, an estimated 30 to 50 percent of people snore. A significant amount of these people also suffer from "violent snoring."

A recent study out of Denmark shows that people suffering from these conditions require more health service, take more medicine, are more frequently unemployed than most people and make less than the average worker.

The study found that patients with sleep-related respiratory disorders incur health costs twice as high as other people and their rate of unemployment is roughly a third higher as well. Those whose sleep disorder is a result of obesity were found to have the lowest rate of employment.

People who suffer from sleep disorders are also more likely to be on welfare.The same is true for people suffering from narcolepsy, or excessive sleepiness, in which an individual can fall asleep almost immediately for seconds, minutes or hours at a time.

Early diagnosis and intervention is key in helping patients with serious sleep and breathing disorders. Poul Jennum, a professor and head of the Danish Centre for Sleep Medicine, says that it is important for people suffering from various sleep problems to contact health services immediately or "their health, education, ability to work, and thereby their finances may be affected."

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Review Date: 
January 17, 2011
Last Updated:
August 20, 2015