Are you at risk for sleep apnea? Do you think you have sleep apnea? These are common questions and we have the answers for you. As you may already know, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the breathing pathways through the mouth, nose or throat are collapsed or blocked. These airways are susceptible to blockages or collapse as the muscle tone lining these pathways relax during sleep. So, who is at risk? Here’s what you need to know.

People with obesity. One of the biggest groups at risk for sleep apnea are those who are overweight. This is due to excess tissue, which may place added pressure on the airway. More than half of those with sleep apnea are classified as being overweight. Because of this, we need to really tackle this issue at hand. Your risk for developing sleep apnea continues to increase at a high rate when your weight goes up, you get older and even if you suffer from diabetes, as well as being a smoker.

Shape of your nose. The size of your nose, mouth or throat might also play a role in your susceptibility to sleep apnea. If you have a constricted shape or small size in terms of features in the nose, mouth, or throat, you might be at a great risk. Allergies and other medical conditions can also cause features along the airway to restrict the flow of oxygen, which impairs breathing, especially while asleep. 

Gender and race. On the other hand, sleep apnea is often more common in men than women. It is also more common among African Americans, Hispanics and Pacific Islanders than Caucasians. Sleep apnea can even occur during pregnancy and following menopause–so make sure to take proper care and seek treatment as soon as possible. 

Contact Dr. Sara at AZ Sleep & TMJ Solutions in Scottsdale for more information and to find out if you have sleep apnea.