What are the most common risk factors for sleep apnea?
The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by constriction to your airway that causes you to stop breathing throughout the night. Certain risk factors increase your risk of getting sleep apnea. The most common ones are:
- Age—You are more likely to get sleep apnea if you are over 60
- Being overweight
- Being Male
- Having a thick neck
- Regular alcohol use
- Having a narrow airway
- Being congested
One of the best ways to get a better night’s sleep is to avoid alcohol. While you may think you get more restful sleep after a couple of drinks, the opposite is true. Alcohol relaxes the muscles in your throat and may worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Another way to avoid sleep apnea is to lose weight. Carrying excess weight puts pressure on your airway and increases the symptoms of OSA by further constricting your airway.
OSA must be diagnosed by a physician and requires an accredited sleep study. The CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is the first line of defense against OSA, but if you are a patient with mild or moderate OSA and you are looking for an alternative to the CPAP machine, call our office and our helpful team will be able to get you scheduled for an evaluation with Dr. Sean Drower.