PCOS is a major increased risk factor for sleep apnea – the potentially dangerous disorder that can temporarily halt breathing during sleep. Certain other factors raise the likelihood of developing various forms of the latter disorder.
Obstructive sleep apnea
- Excess weight. Fat deposits around your upper airway may obstruct your breathing.
- Neck circumference. The size of your neck may indicate whether or not you have an increased risk of sleep apnea. That’s because a thick neck may narrow the airway and may be an indication of excess weight. A neck circumference greater than 17.5 inches is associated with an increased risk.
- High blood pressure (hypertension).
- A narrowed airway. You may inherit a naturally narrow throat. Or, your tonsils or adenoids may become enlarged, which can block your airway.
- Being older. Sleep apnea occurs two to three times more often in adults older than 65.
- Family history. If you have family members with sleep apnea, you may be at increased risk.
- Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers. These substances relax the muscles in your throat.
- Smoking. Smokers are three times as likely to have obstructive sleep apnea.
Central sleep apnea
- Heart disorders. People with atrial fibrillation or congestive heart failure are more at risk of central sleep apnea.
- Stroke or brain tumor. These conditions can impair the brain’s ability to regulate breathing.