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5 Things That Worsen OSA Symptoms


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a dangerous condition that affects millions of Americans of all ages each year. It is more common in older men, especially those who are overweight or obese, but it can appear in virtually anyone. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes obstructed during sleep, causing the affected person to struggle to breathe. This can cause the stopping and restart of breathing repeatedly throughout the night as well as snoring. But it’s not just a nighttime affliction. Sleep apnea can cause a lot of trouble during the day, too, including cognitive impairment and depression. It has also been linked to cancer, heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s diseases.

While being proactive about your sleep apnea can help make your symptoms better, there are things that can make your sleep apnea worse. Here are just a few things you should be wary of if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea.


It’s safe to say that Covid-19 makes everything worse, including sleep apnea. That’s because Covid-19 can often be more severe in sleep apnea patients, and those with sleep apnea are more likely to need to be intubated if hospitalized. This makes it all the more important to follow CDC guidelines for preventing Covid-19, especially if you or a loved one has sleep apnea.


Patients with sleep apnea who are obese are at a greater disadvantage with sleep apnea because of increased pressure on the back of the throat when in the lying position. That’s because there is more fat around the throat, which causes the windpipe to essentially collapse.

Drinking Alcohol

Drinking alcohol before bed relaxes the muscles, including the muscles of the airway. This can make the airway more likely to collapse during sleep.

Muscle Relaxers / Medications

While we may not have much of a choice when it comes to prescriptions, be aware that some medications are more likely to relax the muscles and cause the airway to collapse during sleep. If you are concerned your medication may be worsening your sleep apnea symptoms, speak to your prescribing physician.

Not Using Your Equipment

If you have been prescribed a sleep orthotic, not using it does nothing to help your sleep apnea symptoms, and can be dangerous. If you are interested in getting a custom sleep orthotic from Dr. Peterson, this safe and effective solution can help you get a better night’s sleep and keep your airway open during sleep.

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Posted in: sleep apnea

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