What Increases the Risk of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder caused by a person’s airway collapsing or becoming blocked during sleep, which causes snoring and shallow breathing. Conditions that increase the risk for sleep apnea include high blood pressure, obesity, pregnancy, and major neck surgery for conditions such as thyroid cancer.

You can consult a dentist in Shelby Township, MI, to find out what treatments can help you cure sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be treated by breathing assistance devices that help the person who suffers from it breathe through a tube placed in his or her airway. A person can also get a surgical procedure called adenotonsillectomy, which is the removal of tonsils and adenoids.

Let us now see what increases the risk of sleep apnea.

  • Obesity

Obesity increases the risk of sleep apnea by making the larynx and neck tissues heavy and causing their tissues to elongate. As a result, they become stiff and cannot expand or contract as they should during sleep. This can cause the airway to collapse during sleep, which causes sleep apnea.

  • Thicker necks

Sleep apnea is more likely to happen if a person has a thicker neck. A thicker neck means narrower airways. One of the reasons why people with thicker necks are at an increased risk of sleep apnea is that thicker necks make it harder for the diaphragm to pull down and expand the lungs as much as it should during sleep.

  • Being male

Sleep apnea is more common among males than females. Studies have shown that about 60 to 70 percent of sleep apnea cases occur in men. This is because men are more likely to exhibit the risk factors for sleep apnea, such as being overweight and having a thick neck.

  • Being older

Sleep apnea is more likely to occur among older people. An estimated 24 to 33 percent of people aged 65 years and over have sleep apnea. This is because the mechanisms that control breathing get weaker as we age and reduce a person’s ability to breathe on their own during sleep.

  • Family history

If a person has a close relative who suffered from sleep apnea, he or she has a greater chance of suffering from it as well. The risk of sleep apnea is increased among people whose mothers suffered from the condition during pregnancy. Also, people whose parents have been diagnosed with sleep apnea are more likely to get it themselves. This is because their breathing mechanisms may be genetically predisposed to the disorder.