Who Is at Risk of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing stops and starts many times when you are asleep. There are different sleep apnea types, including obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome. Most people suffer from obstructive sleep apnea due to the relaxation of the muscles in the throat.

Failure of the brain to properly control the muscles that contribute to breathing causes central sleep apnea. Complex sleep apnea syndrome is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea types. If you get fatigued after waking up and snore loudly when sleeping, you can visit Dr. Scott Young who will examine you to determine whether you are suffering from sleep apnea. Your treatment will depend on the type and severity of the sleep apnea.

How Does Sleep Apnea Present?

Most people with sleep apnea snore loudly when they are asleep because the relaxation of the breathing muscles narrows the airways. Your partner or someone else who is around when you are sleeping may report that you stop breathing and gasp for air. If you have sleep apnea, most times you will wake up with a dry mouth.

Due to sleep deprivation during the night, most people with sleep apnea wake up with fatigue and headaches the next morning. It is also common for these people to be irritable or excessively drowsy the next day. Sleep apnea may also make you lack concentration at school or work. You should seek treatment if you are experiencing these symptoms.

Some of the complications of sleep apnea include mood changes like depression and being quick-tempered. Sleep apnea also puts you at risk of developing heart diseases because, during the periods when you temporarily stop breathing, the levels of oxygen in your blood go down.  Low oxygen levels in the blood make your heart pump faster to supply enough oxygen in the body.

People with coexisting heart diseases may get sudden death during periods of low oxygen in the body. Sleep apnea also puts you at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and liver diseases. You are also more likely to develop general anesthesia complications during surgery if you have sleep apnea, which disrupts your breathing pattern when you lie in a specific position. Snoring loudly can also deprive your partner of enough sleep.

What Are the Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea?

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of sleep apnea because your neck’s excess fat reduces your ability to breathe. People who have short and thick necks are also likely to get sleep apnea. Young children have large adenoids and tonsils, making them at a higher risk of obstructive sleep apnea.

Some people are genetically predisposed to getting sleep apnea, and being female also increases the risk. More women than men get sleep apnea because of being overweight, especially after menopause. Because the muscles in the throat become loose as you age, older adults are at a higher risk of developing sleep apnea.

Other risk factors for sleep apnea include using drugs that relax the muscles in the throat like alcohol and sedatives. Diseases that affect your brain function like stroke also increase your risk of developing sleep apnea. Smoking and other conditions that cause inflammation of the airways and fluid retention increase sleep apnea risk.

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes you to stop breathing for a short duration many times as you sleep. There are different types of sleep apnea, including obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome. The risk factors for sleep apnea include obesity, smoking, drinking alcohol, having brain conditions, and old age.