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8 reasons why you may have sleep apnea

20-02-2014

8 reasons why you may have sleep apnea

Not to get all gloomy on you, but if you have any of the 8 following then chances are that you may well suffer from sleep apnea now or in the near future. Apnea is a major problem across the world, with up to 12 per cent of all adults in Australia suffering from it. One of the big issues with sleep apnea is many people are not even aware they have it, as with many sleep disorders, the fact that you are sleeping when it is prominent (or not as the case may be with apnea) makes it very hard for the sufferer to self diagnose.

But we may be overstepping ourselves here, forget apnea sufferers not knowing they have the condition, you may not even know what apnea even is! Let’s quickly recap. An apnea is a break in breathing. The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea and as the term implies, it is a break in breathing caused by an obstruction of the throat... by the throat itself. Apneas are extremely problematic as they disturb the individual’s sleep, interfering with the all important sleep stages. An apnea sufferer may feel like they have slept through the night but the reality is that they have never progressed past the first few stages of sleep, which is very damaging in both the short and long term.

Right, that is apnea covered in brief, now here are the 8 reasons you're probably going to have sleep apnea now or in the future. Remember that to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

1. Obesity. This is one of the leading causes of apnea. Overweight people are around seven times more likely to develop apnea than those who are a healthy weight. The excess weight that they carry adds pressure on their airway and closes the throat. It is a fairly obvious result of being overweight.

2. Neck size. Another mechanistically obvious cause of apnea is neck size. While most people with larger necks are obese, it can also cover those who are excessively muscled, such as weight lifters, body builders and professional sportsmen and women. The bigger your neck circumference the more weight and the more weight the more likely your airway will be obstructed.

3. Age. As you age your body changes and it has been shown that you are more likely to suffer from apnea as you age. This is because as you age the tissues in your throat soften and they are more likely to collapse during the night and block your throat.

4. Family history. If others in your family suffer from apnea then your chances of getting it are higher. Some people have a genetic disposition to apnea.

5. Alcohol. Alcohol is a muscle relaxant so if you drink it before going to bed then you are more likely to get apnea and it can also lengthen the duration of apneas.

6. Ethnicity. It has been found that rates of apnea differ by ethnicity with anatomical differences in the size and solidity of the throat.

7. Smoking. According to research smokers are around two and a half times more likely to suffer from apnea.

8. Gender. Men are twice as likely to suffer from apnea as women.


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