What Are The Risks?
Risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea include obesity, family history of OSA or snoring; and having a small upper airway (large tongue, large uvula, recessed chin, excess tissue in the throat and/or soft palate). Aging may be a prominent risk factor, as the loss of muscle mass is a common consequence of the aging process. Additionally, men appear to be at greater risk.
What Can Cause Sleep Apnea?
Other predisposing factors associated with obstructive sleep apnea include: use of alcohol and sedative drugs, which relax the musculature in the surrounding upper airway; smoking, which can cause inflammation, swelling, and narrowing of the upper airway; and conditions such as hypothyroidism, acromegaly, and even nasal congestion.
It is important to note, however, that healthy men, women and children of all ages may suffer from OSA.