Sleep apnea can affect patients of all ages and even children. Risk factors for sleep apnea include the following:
Excess weight is a contributing risk factor for sleep apnea. The fat is deposited around the upper airways, which gradually reduces their diameter.
Men are 2 times more likely to suffer from sleep apnea. However, the difference in risk is diminished when a woman is overweight or reaches menopause.
Patients older than 40 are more likely to develop sleep apnea than younger patients. The risk increases significantly after the age of 60.
An increased neck circumference (17 inches or more in men and 16 inches or more in women) is a risk factor, as the size of the airway is reduced.
Some people are born with hypertrophic tonsils, large tongues, or retrusif jaws. This can contribute to airway obstruction and promote apnea.
You will have a greater chance of developing sleep apnea if one of your family members suffers from it.
Tobacco use increases airway inflammation and promotes water retention. The risk for smokers is estimated to be 3 times higher than non-smokers.
Nasal obstruction caused by a deviated septum, allergies or sinus problems can affect nasal breathing and thus increases the risk of sleep apnea.
Alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers use
These substances cause throat muscles relaxation, therefore decreasing air passage.