Are you at risk for sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious disorder in which someone starts and stops breathing repeatedly while they sleep.

Untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious complications like high blood pressure, pulmonary hypertension, and even increase your risk of car accidents. One way to check your risk right now is with our free online assessment – click here.

We talked with Dr. Amy Wilson from Sleep Well Southern Colorado and 9Health Expert Dr. Payal Kohli about reducing your risk.

Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea

Not all people who snore have sleep apnea. While it’s true that loud snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, it’s loud snoring with periods of silence that together indicate an absence of breathing. However, nearly all people with sleep apnea will suffer from daytime sleepiness.  

Other symptoms of sleep apnea include 

  • A dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headaches
  • Memory or learning difficulties
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Feeling depressed or having mood swings
  • Urination at night

Sleep apnea is more common in males than in females. Females are more likely to develop sleep apnea after menopause, and more than half of the people who have sleep apnea are overweight.

Additional Risk factors for sleep apnea include:

  • Using excessive amounts of alcohol or sleeping pills
  • African Americans, Hispanics, and Pacific Islanders are the most likely to develop the condition, and Individuals who smoke or have high blood pressure are also at risk of having sleep apnea.

Reduce your Risk for Sleep Apnea

  1. Maintain a healthy weight, lose weight if you need to
  2. Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, low-fat dairy, and low-fat meat.
  3. Exercise – get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week. Just 20-30 minutes of exercise per day. Choose an exercise that you enjoy, such as walking with a friend or riding a bike.
  4. Quit smoking – click here for help.
  5. Be screened for sleep apnea – you can start with our free online assessment.

In addition to sleep apnea, 9Health is offering online assessments for:

If you have a health question you can talk to a medical professional through our 9Health Neighbors Program by calling 303-698-4455, ext. 2005. Leave a message and a 9Health Medical Volunteer will call you back within 24 hours.

9Health is a 501c-3 community non-profit empowering people to put health in their own hands by providing tools such as preventive health screenings, evidence-based, objective health education and eTools and resources for every day in your health journey.