HOST vs. Sleep Study Facility
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Option 3
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Home Sleep Testing
Sleep Disordered Breathing

Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

The most common cause of OSA is obesity. Having a large neck (men: greater than 16.5 inches around, women: greater than 15 inches around) increases your risk for OSA, as it collapses the airway. In small children, large tonsils are the most common cause of OSA. High blood pressure is also commonly linked to OSA. It is important to check your family history and ask a spouse or loved one if they sense your snoring or you stop breathing during the night.

Most common risks of Sleep Apnea

  • Neck circumference

    The size of your neck may indicate whether or not you have an increased risk of sleep apnea. That is because a thick neck may narrow the airway and may be an indication of excess weight. A neck circumference greater than 16.5 inches is associated with an increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

    Sleep apnea is not uncommon in people with hypertension.
  • Obesity or Excess weight

    Fat deposits around your upper airway may obstruct your breathing. However, not everyone who has sleep apnea is overweight. Thin people develop the disorder, too.
  • A narrowed airway:

    You may inherit a naturally narrow throat. Or, your tonsils or adenoids may become enlarged, which can block your airway.
  • Male vs. Female:

    Men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea as women are. However, women increase their risk if they are overweight, and the risk also appears to rise after menopause.
  • Age

    Sleep apnea occurs two to three times more often in adults older than 65.
  • Family history

    If you have family members with sleep apnea, you may be at increased risk.
  • Alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers

    These substances relax the muscles in your throat.
  • Smoking

    Smokers are three times as likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than are people who've never smoked. Smoking may increase the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway. This risk likely drops after you quit smoking.