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7 Things that Increase Sleep Apnea Risk

by / Tuesday, 31 December 2013 / Published in Sleep Apnea and CPAP
sleep-apnea-signs-and-risks

So you snore? Who cares? We do! Most people consider snoring to just be an issue that you shrug off and consider annoying instead of considering the long-term health and wellness issues that might be at hand.

We have a greater understanding of why it is that we snore, especially when it comes to the chronic snorer. It is possible you or your partner could have sleep apnea which is a disorder where people stop breathing, sometimes hundreds of times a night and are gasping for air.

There are certain people that are more likely to experience interruptions in their breathing, so it is important to know what to look for in your partner or yourself.

Weight/Obesity
Carrying too much weight around is the most prevalent risk factor. Obese adults are seven times more likely to develop sleep apnea according to WebMD. Excess weight adds weight not just to your belly, but to the airway and neck which collapses your ability to breathe, cutting off oxygen.

Circumference of Neck
Professional Athletes, such as football linebackers, have a much larger neck circumference than another person for example. Men with a neck circumference greater than 17 inches and women over 15 inches have a higher risk of sleep apnea, WedMD reports.

Family History
You might just be predisposed genetically to have sleep apnea just like you might for cancer, heart attack, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. That physical make-up of yours just might increase your risk.

Age
As we get older, you can develop sleep apnea, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Normal aging kicks in and our muscles soften and aren’t as strong as they used to be.

Smoking
Current smokers are 2.5 times more likely to have sleep apnea than smokers and nonsmokers combined, according to Sleep Breath study.

Gender
Middle-aged men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea than women of the same age, according to the American Lung Association.

Alcohol Use
Alcohol too close to bedtime can lead to episodes of apnea, because it is a muscle relaxant. And in those with the disorder, alcohol can lengthen the duration of the episodes, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea/obstructive-sleep-apnea-causes
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11868156
http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa41.htm

photo credit: Rachel Tayse via photopin cc

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