Who is at risk for sleep apnea?


Who is at risk for obstructive sleep apnea?  

For many years obstructive sleep apnea has been attributed to those who had a large neck circumference and carried extra weight.  Studies are now showing that almost anyone in the population can be at risk for obstructive sleep apnea, but there are some recognizable risk factors.

  • Large neck size-  A thicker neck, whether it be from weight or muscle may impinge on your breathing airway and block the flow of air.
  • Tongue that blocks your airway-  Take a look in your mouth.  Stick out your tongue and move it around.  Can you see the opening in the back of your mouth?  A little bit?  Not at all?  Big Cavern?  If you cant see the opening for airway, it is a good chance that your tongue will block your airway during sleep.  This the cardinal sign of obstructive sleep apnea! 
  • Women!- As we all age, women catch up with men when it comes to sleep apnea risk.  One of the big offenders here is the lack of muscle tone in the throat and airway.  Imagine as you get older, muscles lose tone.  The same thing happens in our airway, and as we lie down the airway does not have the tone to stay open and collapses.  Another cardinal sign of obstructive sleep apnea
  • Extra tissue in the throat or airway- Large tonsils, adenoids, nasal blockages or tongues can block off the opening to the airway in the back of the throat.   These blockages can contribute to obstructive sleep apnea.