Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person’s breathing stops and starts throughout sleep. If left untreated, it can lead to a wide range of problems, from minor fatigue to serious cardiovascular issues.
Luckily, there are treatment methods available. In some cases, an oral surgeon can correct the problem, allowing a patient to enjoy truly restful sleep.
That’s good news for anyone diagnosed with this condition. However, many people do not realize they even have sleep apnea in the first place. It’s not uncommon for a patient to receive a late diagnosis because they did not understand how the condition affects them on a regular basis.
That’s why it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the common symptoms people may experience when they have sleep apnea. While individuals with this condition often won’t experience all of the following symptoms, there’s a good chance they’ll exhibit at least one of them.
Only a qualified medical professional can provide a diagnosis. Consider scheduling an appointment with your physician to discuss the issue if you experience any of the following on a regular basis:
Snoring or Gasping
It’s no secret that most people who snore don’t know they do unless someone informs them. That’s a major reason a person might not realize he or she has sleep apnea.
Thus, if you share a bed with a partner (or sleep with others nearby), ask if they notice any excessive snoring or gasping sounds while you’re asleep. This symptom develops because the air path in your throat can constrict, becoming too small. This makes it difficult to breathe smoothly. The result is snoring. This problem can also manifest in the form of gasping for air.
Get in touch with your doctor if someone claims you regularly snore during sleep. This may not be a minor nuisance. It could very well indicate a more significant problem.
Do you find yourself struggling to stay awake throughout the day? Do you often feel the urge to fall asleep during activities ranging from checking your email to driving?
This is obviously a symptom you want to address. People with sleep apnea can be so deprived of rest that they fall asleep behind the wheel.
Even if your fatigue isn’t this significant, it can still manifest in subtle ways. Perhaps you feel too tired to properly concentrate at work. This could have a major impact on your performance.
Again, that doesn’t mean you have to live with this problem. If the cause of your fatigue is sleep apnea, then treatment options are available. Getting a proper diagnosis is the first step towards addressing the issue.
Frequently Waking Up
People with sleep apnea have a tendency to wake up multiple times in the middle of the night. In many instances, they feel out of breath upon waking, although not everyone notices this symptom.
Don’t assume this is simply the result of stress or other common insomnia causes. This may be the case, but it’s still worth seeing a doctor to find out if a condition like sleep apnea is behind your restlessness.
Some people also notice their mouth seems dry or their throat feels sore when they wake up. This is another subtle indicator you should bring to your doctor’s attention.
Again, it’s easy to assume that waking up in the middle of the night is caused by stress. In fact, numerous sleep apnea symptoms are often disregarded because the people experiencing them assume they’re stress-related.
For instance, people with this condition may be irritable throughout the day. Stress might not be the cause. The sleep deprivation that results from frequently waking up in the night can have a negative impact on a person’s mood. If you’re often irritable during the day, especially if this symptom is coupled with interrupted sleep, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
People who have sleep apnea don’t always notice themselves waking up throughout the night. They may wake up and fall back to sleep so quickly that they don’t actually realize their sleep is constantly being interrupted.
However, people who aren’t getting proper rest throughout the night may wake up with headaches in the morning. Even if you think you’re getting a proper amount of sleep, if you suffer from headaches upon rising, it’s a good idea to look into the issue more deeply.
Sleep apnea is a significant health condition, but it’s also treatable in many cases. Oral surgeons can sometimes correct the underlying physical issue behind the problem. Thus, if you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor, who will take a closer look to determine if you have sleep apnea. If you do receive a diagnosis, your quality of life may improve after undergoing treatment.