Sleep Apnea and Smoking

Sleep apnea can occur in anyone, from young children to star athletes. Certain conditions can make you more predisposed to developing it—including smoking. Since November 17th marks the Great American Smokeout, we’re going to address how tobacco effects your sleep apnea.

The connection between smoking and sleep apnea.

In the United States, about 18% of the population smokes. When you look at those with sleep apnea, that number almost doubles to 35%.

This may be due to how smoking affects your upper airways. It causes inflammation, which in turn makes the nose, throat and uvula swell. This reduces how much space you have in your airway. Sleep apnea patients with a long history of smoking tend to have more instances throughout the night where they stop breathing. This causes their symptoms and condition to be much more severe.

Increased Health Risks.

Smoking not only increases sleep apnea severity, it also escalates your chances of developing a condition that results from not being CPAP compliant. For example:

  • Approximately 20% of heart-related deaths in the United States are due to smoking. Those with sleep apnea have a 2-3 times higher chance of cardiovascular disease. Add smoking into the mix, and you’re putting serious pressure on your heart
  • Smoking also decreases your tolerance for physical activity, leading to weight gain. Sleep apnea can compound this issue, since obesity is one of the side effects of leaving it untreated.
  • Finally, those who smoke are also putting themselves at risk of having a stroke. Not treating your sleep apnea can increase this further.

If you’re a smoker, we encourage you to take part in the Great American Smokeout and quit tobacco for good. Even if you don’t have sleep apnea, the effects on your health are not worth it.

For those who have sleep apnea, we’re here to help you stay compliant. Contact us today if you need your CPAP mask or other CPAP supplies replaced.