As you may know, sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes a person to stop breathing during sleep. When you have sleep apnea, your airway is repeatedly blocked during sleep, cutting off airflow. Often, when your airway is blocked, you will wake from sleep coughing or gasping for air because your body was briefly deprived of oxygen. When you have sleep apnea, you may experience this sequence of events many times throughout the night.

Gasping for air during sleep is not the only sign that you might have sleep apnea. Some other signs and symptoms associated with sleep apnea include loud snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, and difficulty concentrating during the day. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, you should consult a doctor right away.

Below, we are going to look at some of the risk factors associated with developing sleep apnea. This will help you determine if you may be at risk for developing this sleep disorder.

Risk Factors for Developing Sleep Apnea

As mentioned above, sleep apnea is a dangerous sleep disorder. It can cause extreme fatigue, cardiovascular problems, and other complications. Due to its serious nature, you want to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of this disorder. You also will want to be aware of risk factors for developing sleep apnea in case any of these apply to you. Check out some of the risk factors below.

  • Excessive Weight – Being overweight is something that can put you at risk for sleep apnea. This is because fat deposits around the upper airway can obstruct your breathing. While you do not have to be overweight to develop sleep apnea, being overweight will put you at a higher risk.
  • High Blood Pressure – Sleep apnea and high blood pressure can be related. Additionally, sleep apnea can make high blood pressure worse. When your airway is blocked as a result of sleep apnea your body does not get enough oxygen into your blood, which can raise your blood pressure. High blood pressure can also put you more at risk to develop sleep apnea.
  • Being Male – Just being male is not enough to give you sleep apnea, but this sleep disorder is more common in men than it is in women.
  • A Narrow Airway – Since sleep apnea involves a person’s airway closing off, if you already have a narrow airway, that can put you at higher risk to develop sleep apnea. Many people are born with a narrow airway or develop one from enlarged tonsils or adenoids.
  • Family History – Sleep Apnea can be passed down through genetics. This means that if you have a family member that has sleep apnea, you are at a higher risk to get sleep apnea yourself.
  • Smoking – Someone who smokes regularly is more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea because the smoke can affect their throat and lungs.
  • Diabetes – Diabetes is not necessarily a cause of sleep apnea, but there is some evidence to suggest that diabetes and sleep apnea are related. If you have one of these conditions, you may be at more risk to develop the other.

Those are some of the main risk factors for sleep apnea. However, you could develop sleep apnea without having any of these risk factors. If you think you or someone you know has sleep apnea, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible and get started on a treatment program.

How is Sleep Apnea Treated?

Use of a CPAP machine is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. A CPAP machine pressurizes air and delivers it through a mask. This pressurized air prevents your airway from closing and treats the symptoms of sleep apnea.

A CPAP machine is a great way to treat sleep apnea, but it does require regular maintenance. For example, each part in your CPAP machine must be replaced at a frequency recommended by the manufacturer. The air filters are important to change consistently, and your CPAP mask will eventually wear out from consistent use, so that will need replacing as well. Another important consideration when it comes to CPAP machine maintenance is cleaning your CPAP machine.

Why is it important to clean your CPAP machine? Your CPAP machine can collect germs and bacteria from everyday use. If you don’t clean your CPAP machine regularly, it can cause you to get sick. You can develop a sore throat, congestion, airway irritation, throat irritation, and more from a dirty CPAP machine.

However, cleaning your CPAP machine is made easy with a CPAP cleaning device like VirtuCLEAN. VirtuCLEAN is a small and easy-to-use device that cleans your CPAP machine for you. It gets rid of 99.9% of germs and bacteria, and all you have to do it set it up and press the start button. VirtuCLEAN gets rid of the germs and bacteria on your CPAP machine using ozone, so you do not have to worry about toxic chemicals.

Sleep apnea can be a severe sleep disorder, but there are ways to treat it so that you can live a normal life. Reach out to us if you have questions about sleep apnea and cleaning your CPAP machine.