Wisdom tooth Other area Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) risk factors: obesity, male, smoking and more | SingHealth Duke-NUS Sleep Centre
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Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) - How to prevent?

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) - Causes and Risk Factors

Individuals with obstructive sleep apnoea have a narrower upper airway and repeated upper airway obstruction during sleep. This leads to poor sleep quality, sleep deprivation and cardiovascular abnormalities that put tremendous stress on the heart and body.

The upper airway obstruction leads to decreased oxygen supply to the brain, heart and other organs, causing the heart to work harder to provide oxygen to the tissues, leading to medical consequences in the long run.

What are the risk factors for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)?

Risk factors for obstructive sleep apnoea include:

  • Anatomic abnormality. Snoring and OSA occur because of anatomic abnormality in the upper airway leading to obstruction. The sites involved include the:
    • Nose (enlarged turbinates, deviated nasal septum, and nasal polyps)
    • Oropharynx (long, redundant and thick palate and uvula, large tonsils)
    • Hypopharynx/base of tongue (lingual tonsillar hypertrophy, floppy epiglottis, and bulky tongue) and throat
  • Genetics. Genetic predisposition leading to facial and jaw abnormalities are known predisposing risk factors.
  • Medications / Alcohol. Mild or intermittent snoring may be a result of medications (like sedatives to help you sleep) or alcohol that induce relaxation of the upper airway muscles.
  • Weight. Weight gain can contribute to snoring and OSA. Excessive fat accumulation in the upper airway can amplify an existing anatomic narrowing that was causing mild obstruction previously.
  • Gender and Age. The male gender and increased age are risk factors.

Snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea are more common in males

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) - Preparing for surgery

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) - Post-surgery care