Risk Factors for OSA
People of all ages, even children, can have sleep apnea. Certain factors, however, put you at increased risk.
• Being overweight. Fat deposits around your upper airway may obstruct your breathing.
• Having a thick neck. A neck circumference greater than 17 inches can lead to an increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea.
• High blood pressure. Sleep apnea is not uncommon in people with high blood pressure.
• A narrowed airway. Some people may have a naturally narrow throat. The airway can also become blocked by enlarged tonsils or adenoids.
• Being male. Men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea as women are. However, women increase their risk if they’re overweight. Risk for women also appears to rise after menopause.
• Being older. Sleep apnea occurs two to three times more often in adults older than 65.
• A family history of sleep apnea. If you have family members with sleep apnea, you may be at increased risk.
• Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers. These substances relax the muscles in your throat.
• Smoking. Smoking may increase the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway. This risk drops after your quit smoking.