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What Increases Your Risk of Sleep Apnea?

November 10, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — rockymount @ 7:00 pm
man suffering from sleep apnea

Millions of Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a disorder that repeatedly causes you to stop breathing in your sleep. It’s associated with several health conditions, including hypertension, heart attack, memory loss, and much more. Fortunately, knowing which factors increase your risk of sleep apnea can help you take the proper measures to prevent it. Read on to learn more about the common causes of the sleep disorder and what you can do to lower your risk.


Our population is currently facing an increase in the rate of obesity. As a result, sleep apnea is also now on the rise. When fat accumulates in the neck and increases its circumference, the airways become narrower. This additional pressure can cause the upper airways to collapse when your muscles relax in your sleep. Luckily, health experts report that losing weight can cure obstructive sleep apnea in many cases. By exercising, following a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, and regularly seeing your doctor, you can get your weight and sleep back on track!


Studies show that smokers are three times more likely to have sleep apnea than those who have never smoked. That’s primarily because smoking causes inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway, restricting the passage of air. Therefore, if you need a reason to quit the habit, doing it for the sake of getting a good night’s rest is certainly well worth the effort.

High Blood Pressure

Did you know that 30-40% of adults with high blood pressure also have sleep apnea? Generally, the higher your blood pressure is, the worse your sleep apnea tends to be. The stress of having sleep apnea can also directly cause your blood pressure to rise.

Alcohol Consumption

In some cases, sleep apnea stems from the harmful substances you put in your body. Since alcohol relaxes your throat and airways, it can negatively affect your ability to breathe. It can also decrease your drive to breathe and cause slow, shallow breaths. Unfortunately, this combination can cause you to stop breathing throughout the night and increase your chances of having an apneic event. To protect yourself and your sleep, consider cutting back on your alcohol consumption.

Medical Conditions and Family History

There’s a long list of medical conditions that can contribute to and exacerbate sleep apnea. For example, if you suffer from certain conditions like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic lung disease, you’re at risk of suffering from the sleep disorder. It may surprise you to learn that even milder conditions like allergies and chronic nasal congestion can increase your risk. Additionally, since the shape of your jawbone and tongue placement can be inherited, sleep apnea is a condition that can run in the family.

Now that you know which factors increase your risk of sleep apnea, you can take all steps necessary to prevent it from occurring. That way, you don’t have to worry about lack of sleep interfering with your quality of life.

Meet the Dentists

Together, Dr. Barry Belton and Dr. Kevin Schrimper have decades of dentistry experience under their belts. They share a passion for helping patients in their community achieve and maintain their absolute best smiles. If you think you may suffer from sleep apnea, Dr. Belton can confirm a diagnosis and get you started on a path towards a better night’s rest. To make an appointment, you can reach him via his website or call (252) 937-7878.

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