What are the most common factors leading to sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or instances of shallow breathing during sleep.  Each pause, called apnea, can last for a few seconds to several minutes.

Over 12 million Americans are considered to have a more severe condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).  In OSA patients, breathing is interrupted by a physical block to airflow despite respiratory effort, and snoring is common.

According to MySleepApneaMD.com, here are a few of the most common contributing factors:

  1. Being overweight or obese, especially if you have a BMI greater than 27
  2. Having a large neck size (17 inches or greater in men and 16 inches or greater in women)
  3. Having large tonsils or tongue
  4. Having a small jaw bone
  5. Alcohol consumption
  6. Neuromuscular diseases such as muscular dystrophy or ALS
  7. Taking muscle relaxants
  8. Taking narcotic pain medications
  9. Taking anxiety medications
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