- The prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea increases with age.
- In people aged 30-60 years, 2% of all women and 4% of all men have OSA. Up to 60% of the elderly have the condition.
- Most people diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea are obese. Increased neck fat is thought to narrow the airway, making breathing more difficult.
- Men are 7-10 times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than women.
- More African Americans have OSA than do whites.
- Most people with obstructive sleep apnea are older than 40 years. Weight gain and a decrease in muscle tone occur with aging, and these may play a role in increasing the incidence of OSA.
- Sleep apnea is more common in postmenopausal women.
- Family history and genetics play a role.
- Polio and muscular dystrophy increase the chance of obstructive sleep apnea, as do other medical conditions such as sinus infections, allergies, colds and nasal tumors, and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland).
G Richard Braen, MD, FACEP
Steven C Gabaeff, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Thomas Rebbecchi, MD, FAAEM
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