What are the risk factors for developing sleep apnea?
There are several risk factors associated with the development of sleep apnea. The primary risk factor is obesity or being overweight, as the excess fat deposits around the neck and throat can contribute to airway obstruction during sleep. Other risk factors include having a large neck circumference, being male (though sleep apnea can affect women as well), being over the age of 40, having a family history of sleep apnea, having a narrow airway or enlarged tonsils, smoking, alcohol or sedative use, and certain medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disorders. It’s important to note that while these factors can increase the risk, sleep apnea can occur in individuals without any known risk factors.
If you suspect you may have sleep apnea or have concerns about your risk factors, it is advisable to consult with a SLEEP healthcare professional for further evaluation and guidance.
Common symptoms of sleep apnea include loud and chronic snoring, episodes of breathing cessation during sleep (most often observed by a bed partner), abrupt awakenings accompanied by gasping or choking, excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, dry mouth or sore throat upon waking, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and decreased libido.
These symptoms can significantly impact one’s quality of life, leading to daytime fatigue, impaired cognitive function, and mood disturbances. It’s important to note that not everyone with sleep apnea experiences all of these symptoms, and they can vary in severity.