Sleep apnea is most common in people over the age of 40 and increases the older you become.
Whether you consider yourself young or old, sleep apnea can occur at any age. Yet, what age is this condition most common? While it can occur at any age, there are certain age groups that are more prone to developing sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep. It can lead to various health complications such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. While obesity and genetics are common risk factors, age also plays a significant role in developing sleep apnea.
If you’re concerned about sleep apnea, it’s important to know when you’re most at risk. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at sleep apnea and explore the age groups that are most commonly affected. Whether you’re young or old, understanding the risk factors for sleep apnea can help you take steps to prevent or manage this condition.
What exactly is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder. It is generally identified by pauses in breathing during sleep. It can occur at any age, and can be divided into two main categories: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form, and occurs when the upper airway becomes blocked during sleep, causing episodes of stopped or shallow breathing .
Central sleep apnea (CSA) is less common, and occurs when the brain fails to send signals to the muscles that control breathing.
Sleep apnea can cause a number of health problems, including daytime sleepiness, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It can also lead to depression and other mental health issues.
What age is sleep apnea most common?
Sleep apnea can affect people of all ages, including children and infants. However, it is most commonly diagnosed in adults who are over the age of 40. It is estimated that over 20% of adults over the age of 60 may have sleep apnea.
This is because as we age, the muscles in our throat tend to become weaker, which can lead to the collapse of the airway during sleep, causing sleep apnea. These muscles also become more prone to swelling and inflammation, which can further narrow the airway.
In addition, older adults are more likely to have risk factors such as obesity, which can increase their likelihood of developing sleep apnea. Other risk factors include smoking, alcohol consumption and certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.
Can you get sleep apnea at any age?
Yes, sleep apnea can occur at any age. Though, some age groups are more prone to developing this disorder. As mentioned above, sleep apnea is most common in those between the ages of 40 and 60. However, people of all ages can be affected. Sleep apnea is particularly prevalent in men over the age of 50, as well as women over the age of 65.
In children, sleep apnea is most common between the ages of two and eight. In addition to age, certain medical conditions can increase a child’s risk of developing sleep apnea. These include enlarged tonsils and adenoids, down syndrome, craniofacial anomalies, and neuromuscular disorders.
Although less common than in adults, sleep apnea can also occur in infants. Premature babies and those with underlying medical conditions are most at risk.
Can you have sleep apnea in your 20s?
Yes, you can have sleep apnea at a young age, including your twenties.
As mentioned, sleep apnea can affect people of any age, even those in their twenties may be at risk. A study in two Pennsylvania counties found that 3.2% of men had OSA that were in the 20-44 age range. The same study in women of this age group found 0.6% had OSA. More research is needed to determine strictly the twenty years age range. Though, based on this research, it is possible to have sleep apnea in your twenties.
While it is most common in those over the age of 40, younger adults should also be aware of the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, regardless of age.
What are the most common symptoms of sleep apnea?
The most common symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, pauses in breathing during sleep, and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Other symptoms include waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat, morning headaches, difficulty falling or staying asleep, waking gasping for air, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and restlessness during sleep.
What can I do to prevent or manage sleep apnea?
If you’re concerned about sleep apnea, there are several steps you can take to prevent or manage this condition. These include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight – Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing sleep apnea. Losing weight can help reduce symptoms and improve your overall health.
- Getting regular exercise – Exercise has many benefits for physical and mental health, including reducing your risk of sleep apnea. Regular aerobic activity can help keep your weight in check.
- Avoiding alcohol – Drinking alcohol can make sleep apnea worse and lead to other health complications.
- Sleeping on your side – Sleeping on your back can increase the risk of developing sleep apnea. Try sleeping on your side or stomach instead, as this is less likely to cause disrupted breathing during sleep .
- Avoiding smoking – Smoking can worsen sleep apnea symptoms, so it’s important to quit or reduce your intake.
- Surgery – In some cases, surgery may be recommended to treat sleep apnea. This can involve removing the tonsils and adenoids, or performing a procedure to open up the airway. Surgery may also be recommended to correct any physical abnormalities, such as enlarged tongue or jaw.
- Medications – Dopaminergic agents, such as pramipexole and rop inirole, are sometimes prescribed to improve sleep quality and reduce sleep disruption caused by periodic limb movements or restless leg syndrome. Such medications can also help reduce sleep apnea symptoms.
- CPAP machines – Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are often recommended for people who have obstructive sleep apnea. This machine delivers a steady stream of air through a mask, which helps keep the airway open while you sleep.
- Seeking treatment – If you’re experiencing signs or symptoms of sleep apnea, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. A doctor can diagnose the condition and recommend treatments such as lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery.
There are several steps that can be taken to prevent or manage sleep apnea, such as maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, avoiding alcohol , avoiding smoking, and using CPAP machines. It is also important to seek medical treatment if you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of sleep apnea.