Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the breathing pathways through the mouth, nose or throat are collapsed or blocked. Your airways are susceptible to blockages or collapse as the muscle lining relaxes while you are sleeping. Knowing that definition, are you at risk for sleep apnea? Do you think you or a loved one might have sleep apnea? It is common to ask these questions. But you’re in luck because we have some answers for you. Here is what you need to know about who is at risk for sleep apnea.

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.

Constricted or small size nose, mouth or throat

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. 

You are a man

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 Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia for more information and to find out if you have sleep apnea.