Sleep Apnea - Risk Factors

A common misconception is that sleep apnea only affects older, overweight men. This widely-held assumption is wrong: anyone can have sleep apnea, regardless of gender, age or body type. If you have any of the following traits you may be at increased risk of sleep apnea:

  • Excess weight: An adult or child with a BMI of 25 or higher is considered to be overweight. Your risk of sleep apnea increases with the amount of excess body weight.
  • Large neck size (>17 inches for men, > 16 inches for women)
  • Older age (40+ for men, 50+ for women)
  • Being male: Men have twice the risk of having sleep apnea compared to women
  • Smoker: Smokers have a higher risk of oxygen deprivation with their sleep apnea
  • Hypertensive: High blood pressure is very common in people with sleep apnea
  • Family history: Sleep apnea can occur more often among family members. This may be a result of either inherited traits or common lifestyles.