Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of people in the world. It takes its name from the Greek word apnea, which means "without breath." People with sleep apnea literally stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, often for a minute or longer and as many as hundreds of times during a single night. Sleep apnea can be caused by either complete obstruction of the airway (obstructive apnea) or partial obstruction (obstructive hypopnea-- hypopnea is slow, shallow breathing), both of which can wake one up. There are three types of sleep apnea — obstructive, central, and mixed. Of these, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common.
Treatments for the condition include breathing devices such as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) to keep the airway open during sleep, and surgery that reduces the amount. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a medical device used to treat CPAP patients during sleep. The users wear a face mask connected to a pump that forces air into the nasal passages at pressures high enough to overcome obstructions in the airway and stimulate normal breathing. The airway pressure delivered into the upper airway is continuous during both inspiration and expiration. In addition to the CPAP devices, the industry also includes the accessories like facial interfaces and humidifiers.
Market Growth, Opportunities and the Total Forecast
Available data indicates that sleep apnea affects approximately 4% of men and 2% of women in Australia, bringing total prevalence to over 450,000 people.
Frost & Sullivan estimates that an average of 15% of the affected population or approximately 72,000 people have been diagnosed and treated. The Australian sleep apnea market has experienced a strong growth in the last few years and is expected to carry the momentum in the coming years. The total Australian sleep apnea market for is expected to grow at an annual rate of more than 20% for the next few years. In the accessories market, the sales of the accessories will shadow the strong growth experienced in the CPAP markets.
Key drivers for growth
The key drivers for growth in the Australian Sleep Apnea markets would be technology and awareness. With the technology improvements in the facial interfaces, the comfort level on using the CPAP devices would increase and the adoption would be greater. Rising awareness levels of sleep apnea and rising number of sleep labs will expand the existing consumer base will foster the growth of the market
The biggest present restraint to the Australian sleep apnea market results from the suppressed diagnosis rates that restraints the therapeutic market from reaching full potential. As estimated by Frost & Sullivan, there are still above 4 million patients that have not been diagnosed.
One other reason of the slow growth of the market has been the unfavourable reimbursement rates for therapeutic devices from health insurances. However, things are looking brighter with the inclination of the medicare to reimburse the home studies.
Overall, the sleep apnea market in Australia is currently in the growth phase of the product life cycle. All the product segments are projected to experience double-digit growth rates. Frost and Sullivan expects an intensification in the level of the competition because the growing markets coupled with the market driving factors would be attractive to all the players in the market.
Companies operating in this environment will need to invest in the customer support training programs for the retailers and to build strong relationships with the purchase decision influencers like sleep technicians, retail outlets and pharmacies.
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