Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea costs you more than a good night’s sleep – it’s detrimental to your health, well-being and happiness. With the right approach, it can be successfully treated – but the first step is diagnosis. Four out of five sleep apnea sufferers don’t know they’re affected. There are various symptoms – some of them very common – that may mean you have sleep apnea.
Do you feel tired every day, despite getting a full eight hours of sleep? Do you experience sometimes overwhelming feelings of exhaustion throughout the day? These are potential signs of sleep apnea. Because people with sleep apnea wake up repeatedly – sometimes hundreds of times a night – they are never able to reach or stay in the deepest cycles of sleep necessary to recharge the body. As a consequence, they wake up feeling tired, and may also experience morning headaches, blurred vision and dry mouth.
This continuous exhaustion is more than simply an annoyance – it can pose serious risk to your health and well-being. Sleep apnea sufferers experience decreased concentration, memory, energy and libido. They may also experience mood swings, irritability, depression and poor performance at work or school. Sleep apnea sufferers may “nod off” during the day – including while driving – creating a serious danger to themselves and others. If you experience consistent, even daily exhaustion, you should get tested for sleep apnea. Your doctor will help you determine if your exhaustion is due to possible sleep apnea or sleep deprivation. Your exhaustion could be due to not obtaining enough sleep and a physician should be consulted to help you determine the cause.
Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea – but just about everyone who has sleep apnea snores. Snoring is the most common and most noticeable symptom of sleep apnea. Since it is so common, people rarely get concerned about it – aside from the annoyed partner who has to deal with it. The reality is, however, that snoring should be taken seriously.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea causes the tongue, soft palate and uvula to fall onto the back of the throat, blocking airflow. When air is partially inhibited in this manner, breath must squeeze through the narrow passage of the airway, causing the soft palate and uvula to vibrate, producing the sound of snoring. A complete closure of the airway may result in the patient choking or gasping for air as they wake up. These frequent awakenings are often alarming to the individual and/or their bed partner.
If you snore, you should get tested for sleep apnea!
Those suffering from sleep apnea may experience additional symptoms which, at first glance, may seem unrelated, but can be red flags:
- Morning Headaches
- Frequent nighttime urination
- High blood pressure
- Dry mouth
- Weight gain
Sleep Apnea in Children and Infants
Sleep apnea can affect people of all ages, including infants and children. It can be challenging to diagnose this condition in young patients, but there are some key symptoms that can aid doctors detecting the condition. Babies who cease breathing for 20 seconds or more, gasp, choke or turn blue while sleeping, potentially suffer from sleep apnea. The condition is more common in premature babies – those born before 37 weeks of pregnancy – but it can happen in any infant.
Older children who suffer from sleep apnea experience many of the same symptoms as adults, including snoring, gasping during sleep, interrupted sleep and chronic exhaustion. Snoring is not normal in children. If your child snores, a visit to your pediatrician is required to determine the cause. If your child suffers from a sleep disorder, he or she may also wet the bed, exhibit slow growth and development, have behavioral problems or display the signs of ADHD.
Diagnosing sleep apnea early with children is critically important to their health. Healthy sleep is necessary for the growth and development of children’s bodies. Children not only rest while asleep but this is also when they grow. The lack of sleep due to OSA can cause problems with their development.
There’s Only One Way to be Sure
There’s a reason most people with sleep apnea go undiagnosed – the symptoms of the disease are relatively common occurrences in people’s lives and can be associated with a wide variety of other conditions. The only way to truly determine if you suffer from sleep apnea is to get tested.
A visit to your Primary Care Physician for a medical exam and prescription is the first step prior to working with the experts at SleepQuest.