Many people experience sleep apnea, though it may be more pronounced in certain groups of people. Those who are overweight may have obstructions to breathing. People with a thick neck also may have a narrower airway. Genetics also may play a role in a narrow airway in the throat or enlarged adenoids or tonsils that contribute to airway obstruction.
Men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea as women, and men who are older than age 60 have an increased risk over younger men.
Smokers are three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea over people who have never smoked. That’s because, according to the Mayo Clinic, inflammation and mucus retention may occur in the upper airway.
People who naturally have difficulty breathing through the nose may be at a higher risk for sleep apnea.