Causes and Risk Factor for Sleep Apnea

    There are some common misconceptions surrounding the probability of developing sleep apnea among the patient community. The goal of this article is to dispel the myth and reveal the truth behind this medical condition. A common misconception prevalent among the patient community is that sleep apnea only affects older, overweight men. The truth is that any individual, regardless of age or weight, can develop sleep apnea due to the other risk factors.

    Some root causes and risk factors that increase the chances of sleep apnea in individuals

    • Birth anomaly: Individuals born with a narrowed airway will develop a natural tendency to develop sleep apnea due to constricted nasal airway, particularly in children.
    • Family history: A family history of sleep apnea significantly increases the risk.
    • Excessive body weight: Research states that overweight people are four times more at risk of developing sleep apnea than people with normal weight. One of the primary factors causing sleep apnea is fat deposits around the upper airway.
    • Size of the neck (circumference): Generally, people with thick necks are more at risk of developing sleep apnea. More specifically, men with a neck circumference of 17 inches (43 centimeters) and more, and women with neck circumference of 15 inches (38 centimeters) or more have a higher risk than other men and women.
    • Gender: According to statistics, men are twice as likely as women to develop sleep apnea. However, overweight or post-menopause women are at a higher risk than other women.
    • Age: Sleep apnea reportedly affects more older adults.
    • Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers. These muscle-relaxing substances can cause sleep apnea.
    • Smoking: According to statistics, smokers are three times more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) than non-smokes.
    • Nasal congestion: Individual who suffer from chronic or allergic problem are highly likely to develop OSA.
    • Heart disorders: People with heart problems are more at risk of developing sleep apnea.
    • Use of narcotic pain medications: Some medications like methadone increase the risk of sleep apnea.

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