Medical Risk Factors Associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

While it is possible for anyone to develop Obstructive Sleep Apnea, your health history can increase your chances of developing OSA based on the various factors listed below.

  • Excessive Weight – More than half of the people with Obstructive Sleep Apnea are overweight (a Body Mass Index over 30) and their breathing may be obstructed by the fat deposits around their upper airway. This does not, however, mean that all people with Obstructive Sleep Apnea are overweight as any size person can develop the disorder.
  • The Circumference Of The Neck – Whether or not there is an increased risk of Obstructive Sleep Apnea may be indicated by the size of a person’s neck. A thick neck could be an indication of excess weight and a narrow airway. For men, a neck circumference that is greater than 17 inches or 43 centimeters is associated with increased chances of developing OSA. For women, a neck circumference that is greater than 15 inches or 38 centimeters is associated with increased chances of developing OSA.
  • High Blood Pressure Or Hypertension – Obstructive Sleep Apnea is quite common among people with hypertension.
  • A Narrow Airway – An airway may be more easily blocked when a throat is naturally narrow or there are enlarged tonsils or adenoids.
  • Chronic Nasal Congestion – Regardless of the cause, Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs twice as often in people that consistently have nasal congestion at night.
  • Diabetes – In people that have diabetes, Obstructive Sleep Apnea is reported to be three times more common than in people without diabetes.
  • Gender – Generally, men are twice as likely to have Obstructive Sleep Apnea than women are.
  • Ethnicity - For people under 35 years of age, Obstructive Sleep Apnea is more common among Hispanics, Pacific Islanders and African-Americans.
  • Age - The risk of developing Obstructive Sleep Apnea increases with age, especially in adults that are over 40 years and even higher in adults over 65.
  • Menopause – After menopause, a woman's risk tends to increase.
  • Family History – People may be at higher risk of developing Obstructive Sleep Apnea if they have family members with OSA.
  • Use Of Alcohol, Sedatives Or Tranquilizers - Alcohol, Sedatives Or Tranquilizers tend to relax the muscles in the throat.
  • Smoking – People that smoke are nearly 3 times more likely to have Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

If you are interested in finding out more about the risk factors and contributors to sleep apnea development, call The Los Angeles Sleep Study Institute at 1-855-690-0563 and one of our representatives will be happy to answer any of your questions.