Certain things make it more or less likely that you will have obstructive sleep apnea. Some of these you cannot change, while others you can.
Things you can't change
- Aging.Sleep apnea is most common in people age 30 and older.
- Being male.Sleep apnea is more common in men.
- Family history. If other members of your family have sleep apnea, you are more likely to have it than someone who doesn't have a family history of it.
- Ethnicity. Hispanics and Pacific Islanders have a greater risk of sleep apnea than whites. Blacks tend to get sleep apnea at a younger age than whites.
- Deformities of the spine. Deformities of the spine, such as scoliosis, may interfere with breathing and contribute to sleep apnea.
- Conditions that may cause head and face abnormalities. Conditions such as Marfan's syndrome and Down syndrome may result in abnormalities and increase the risk for sleep apnea.
- Menopause. Sleep apnea tends to occur more often in women who have been through menopause than in women who have not. After menopause, women get sleep apnea at a rate similar to men.1 Experts don't know why or how menopause increases the risk of sleep apnea.