Like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, people who have higher body weights are more likely to be diagnosed with sleep apnea. Does this mean that you can’t have the condition if you are not overweight? Is it possible for skinny people to get sleep apnea? Here are some of the things that you should know about sleep apnea’s relationship to weight.
Can Skinny People Get Sleep Apnea?
While the risk of being diagnosed with sleep apnea drastically increases among those who are obese, it is possible for anyone to develop the condition. The more weight that a person has on their body, the greater their chances of being diagnosed with sleep apnea are. That said, it is possible for anyone, regardless of their weight, to have sleep apnea.
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, people who are at a “normal” weight (with a BMI of less than 25) are at a 16.4 percent risk of sleep apnea. People who are “overweight” (with a BMI of 25 to 30) are at a 38.1 percent risk of sleep apnea, while those who are “obese” (with a BMI of more than 30) are at a 45.5 percent risk of sleep apnea.
What are Other Sleep Apnea Risk Factors?
In addition to being overweight or obese, there are other factors which can increase your risk of sleep apnea. While you may be at a normal weight, there is a chance that you may have other sleep apnea risk factors. Other factors which increase your risk of this condition include:
– High blood pressure
– Being over the age of 65
– Being male
– A large neck circumference
– Alcohol, tranquilizer and sedative use
– Sitting for long periods of time
– Stroke, brain tumor or heart disorders
While you may not think that you are at risk of sleep apnea because you are not overweight or obese, there is a possibility that you could have it. This is why it is important to be aware of the symptoms of sleep apnea. Common symptoms include loud snoring that may disturb your sleep, breath shortness or pauses in breath that wake you up, and drowsiness during the day that causes you to fall asleep. Anyone who experiences one or more of these symptoms for a long period of time should be sure to visit their doctor, regardless of their weight. If your doctor tells you that there is no chance that you could have sleep apnea because you are at a healthy weight, it is ideal to get a second opinion because the condition can affect anyone.
American Sleep Apnea Association, “Sleep Apnea and BMI: The Majority of OSA Patients are not Obese.”
MayoClinic.com, “Sleep Apnea – Risk Factors.”