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Physical Conditions Associated with Sleep Apnea
|A board certified sleep physician examines a patient to design an individualized treatment plan.
The majority of apnea patients are overweight, while one third are of normal weight but have small or receding jaws that may act to push the tongue backward against the throat. The throat is further diminished as people gain weight, because fat is deposited in the tongue and surrounding tissues.
A small mouth and throat with a large tongue can additionally be associated with the complaint of coughing and choking when eating. One of the most common physical findings is a short, thick neck that may measure up to 18 to 20 inches in some individuals.
Complications of sleep apnea
The reductions in the blood oxygen level during apnea may result in heart and lung problems including heart attacks, heart failure, unusual heartbeats and swollen ankles. Strokes are more common in apnea suffers, as is impotency in males. Hypertension and depression are among the most common complications of untreated sleep apnea.