Risk factors and treatments of sleep apnea everyone should know

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which people’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts.

When left untreated, the disease may increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and possibly type 2 diabetes.

To help people know the risk factors and treatment of sleep apnea, Anita Valanju Shelgikar, M.D. from the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center provides information about the disease.

According to her, there are 5 signs that show a big risk of sleep apnea:

Being overweight or obese

Although the relationship between sleep apnea and obesity is complex, people who are obese may have a greater risk of having sleep apnea.

In addition, men have a higher risk of sleep apnea and women have a higher risk of the disease after menopause.

A large neck circumference

Research has shown that people with a neck circumference greater than 40 cm (15.7 inches) may increase the likelihood of having sleep apnea.

A history of stroke or transient ischemic attack

People who had a stroke or transient ischemic attack in the past have an increased risk of having sleep apnea.

Treating obstructive sleep apnea may help prevent additional strokes or heart problems.


Although not everyone who snores has obstructive sleep apnea, it is recommended that people who snore be evaluated for other obstructive sleep apnea risk factors to see if further diagnostic testing is warranted.

High blood pressure

People with high blood pressure, especially treatment-resistant high blood pressure need to talk with doctors about sleep apnea test.

Treatments of sleep apnea

The main treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, which involves wearing a mask during sleep.

Other ways of treating sleep apnea include:

Sleeping on the left or right side;

Using a mouth device known as a mandibular advancement appliance;

Removal enlarged tonsils and adenoids;

Having a procedure called uvulopalatopharyngoplasty to reduce a long palate;

Using a surgery called genioglossus advancement to treat the airway that collapses behind the tongue;

Using an Inspire hypoglossal nerve stimulator to treat a backward collapse of the tongue;

Using a surgery called maxillomandibular advancement to deal with shortened upper or lower jawbones;

Using a surgery called maxillomandibular expansion when jawbones are narrow;

Using medical weight loss surgery to lose weight;

Using tongue reduction surgery.

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