The degree to which people are overweight affects their likelihood of developing sleep apnea, according to WebMD. For each body mass index value, a person's chance of developing sleep apnea rises by about 14 percent.
A person who gains 10 pounds experiences a six-fold increase in his chances of developing sleep apnea, notes WebMD. People with extreme obesity are also more likely to develop obesity-hypoventilation syndrome, which can occur alongside sleep apnea or arise alone. Studies show a correlation between sleep apnea and being overweight. Patients who lost weight were three times more likely to experience a complete remission of their symptoms than those who did not lose weight.