OSAS affects death rates indirectly, as it is a risk factor for hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and stroke, and also because it induces excessive somnolence, which may cause driving accidents.
Mean annual medical costs prior to diagnosis of OSAS of €2,541 have been reported compared with €1,293 for normal individuals.
The annual cost of treating an individual with OSAS is modest (~€400), including medical follow-up, maintenance and a nCPAP device.
The cost of road accidents due to excessive daytime sleepiness caused by OSAS is probably considerable, but it has not yet been adequately assessed.
With the increasing awareness of the risks associated with OSAS, several European countries now prohibit untreated patients from driving.
The number of patients diagnosed with OSAS will increase over the coming
years. The increasing prevalence of obesity in Europe will further contribute to rising numbers of patients with OSAS needing diagnosis and treatment.
In many European countries, waiting lists (of several months) for the
diagnosis and treatment of patients with OSAS are a serious concern.