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Michigan Head & Neck Institute

Get the Facts About Obstructive Sleep Apnea Risk

osa risk factorsWhat is OSA? With this condition, breathing stops and starts many times during the night. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when a blockage of the upper airway causes the breathing interruption. OSA not only disturbs your sleep, but also prevents your organs from getting the oxygen they need to work properly. Understanding the risk factors for and potential complications of OSA is an important part of preventing and treating this condition.



Who Is Likely To Develop Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Certain factors increase the risk for OSA, some of which are preventable. The most common OSA risk factors include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a large neck diameter
  • Biological factors such as enlarged tongue and tonsils, narrow airways or a deviated septum
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure and other cardiac issues
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic sinus congestion

OSA is also more common among women and older adults.


What Complications Can Result?

People who have untreated sleep apnea may experience sleepiness during the day and develop hypertension, which in turn leads to increased risk for heart disease and stroke. Other complications include heart arrhythmias and glaucoma. If you need surgery or medication, your OSA may worsen.

Because OSA can lead to serious health issues, it’s important to reduce your risk factors for this condition and seek treatment for sleep problems. Some of the steps you can take include:

  • Losing weight if you are overweight or obese
  • Discontinuing use of alcohol and sleeping pills, which can exacerbate the symptoms of OSA
  • Sleeping on your side instead of your back
  • Using nasal sprays if your OSA is caused by congestion problems

OSA diagnosis and treatment are available at the Michigan Head and Neck Institute. Contact us at 586-588-9444 to schedule a consultation if you are experiencing symptoms such as daytime sleepiness, morning sore throats or headaches, night sweats, restlessness, snoring, irritability and trouble concentrating. Although sleep apnea is quite serious, medical treatment can resolve this condition and restore your restful sleep.

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The contents of this website, such as text, graphics, images, and other materials are for informational purposes only. While there are many commonalities among multiple TMD and sleep apnea cases, each patient is unique. Information on this website should be used to educate the reader about what they should discuss with their doctor if they are suffering from the listed symptoms. The information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of your physician or you may call our office with any questions you may have regarding TMD or sleep apnea. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

Disclaimer: This site contains selective use of the term 'specialist.' There is no recognized specialty in TMJ. For more information, please contact us.