A report from a US-based military veterans organisation has claimed that sleep apnea is fast increasing among its members, with more than 20% now suffering the condition. According to the Veterans Administration (VA), the number of members receiving benefits for sleep apnea rose by 60% between 2008 and 2010, leading to an annual outlay of $500m solely on the treatment of the disorder.
Sleep apnea is the regular closure of the airway during sleep, causing temporary pauses in breathing that can occur up to thirty times an hour. Snoring can be an indication of the condition in some cases, and while it is known to be linked to a number of health issues such as heart disease and strokes, the most commonly experienced side effect is daytime sleepiness. Treatment is generally administered via a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask which is worn during sleep.
While the sudden rise of the condition among US veterans has not been attributed to any single cause, the report highlights exposure to dust and smoke in the field as ways in which a sufferer’s respiration could notably deteriorate.