Obstructive Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

Below are the most common risk factors associated with patients suffering with obstructive sleep apnea.   If you or a loved one fall into multiple categories, you could be a candidate for sleep apnea and should ask your doctor about preliminary sleep studies.

Excesive neck size is a very significant factor.  Whether it is do to excessive fatty tissue or large neck muscles, these patients are likely to obstruct.  The general rule is 16" neck in female or 17" neck in male.

Large tonsils and adenoids result in narrowing of the oral cavity.  It is the most common cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in children.

Overweight individuals are commonly thought to be at risk for Obstructve Sleep Apnea.  However, a third of patients are not overweight.  A BMI of 30 or greater is a factor.

Small jaws or large tongues contribute to a narrow air space.  Retruded jaws can also present a problem.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is more common in the older age group.  Age increases fat deposits, muscle atrophy and hormone changes.

Men are twice as likely to experience OSA then women.  Testosterone is associated with Sleep Apnea.   As women approach menapause, their relative Testosterone levels increase and so does the prevalance of apnea.

Famly history is seen as a minor risk factor.  There are obvious physical attributes in some families that increase their risk.    Other families have no noticable factors but experience an over relaxation of the neck muscles during sleep.  This results in airway obstruction.

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