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Sleep Surgeon Question 39

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Question 39 - How quickly does sleep apnea occur?

From: D.


Was there any studies done on sleep apnea progression (worsening over time)?

I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea in 2004. This was the first time I was aware that I have sleep apnea.

How many years would you think I had the sleep apnea?

Do you normally start with mild sleep apnea?

Appreciate any advise.


Response Provided by Dr. Kasey Li
May 23, 2008

The natural history of obstructive sleep apnea is gradual worsening of the condition with aging. It is difficult to predict the rate of worsening, but certainly weight gain is never good.

However, studies have shown that some people can progress from mild to severe sleep apnea in a matter of 2-3 years without weight gain. One thing for certain is that people don't develop severe sleep apnea suddenly.

Most adults with severe sleep apnea had sleep apnea when they were children.

Kasey Li, MD

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