Risk Factors for Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
It was incorrectly thought that Obstructive Sleep Apnea was reserved for patients who had a large neck circumference and were obese. However, it is now known that anyone can be at risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
These are some of the more common OSA risk factors:
- Large neck size – A denser neck, whether it be from weight or muscle can interrupt breathing airway and block the flow of air.
- Extra tissue in the throat or airway– tongues, large tonsils, adenoids, and nasal blockages can block off the opening to the airway in the back of the throat. These blockages contribute to obstructive sleep apnea.
- Large Tongue – Look in your mouth. Stick out your tongue and move it around. Can you see the airway opening in the back of your mouth? Not at all? A little bit? If you can’t see the opening for airway, it is a decent chance that your tongue will block your airway during sleep. During sleep, you lose muscle tone. The tongue can fall backwards and occlude the airway.
- Women – Before OSA was generalized as a middle age obese white man disease. As women age, women catch up with men when it comes to sleep apnea risk. OSA does not discriminate between sex, race or ethnicity.