Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that many people struggle with. Left unmanaged, it can be very dangerous. Those with sleep apnea experience irregular breathing as they sleep, where breathing repeatedly stops and starts. This can lead to heart problems, high blood pressure, stroke, increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and other serious medical conditions.
Sleep apnea can be diagnosed by using a home sleep apnea test or by participating in an in-lab sleep study. If you suspect that you or your partner may have sleep apnea, see your doctor to discuss your symptoms and possible treatment options, or contact ApneaMed.
Regular loud snoring is one of the most common symptoms that those with sleep apnea share.
Snoring is caused by the airway being blocked partially or obstructed in some way, keeping air from moving freely. The obstruction in the airway leads to vibrations which produce the snoring sounds. It is uncommon for the person snoring to be aware of the sounds they are making. Most frequently it is a partner that shares the same bed that notices the snoring.
If you have been told that you snore continually throughout the night, this issue could be a symptom of sleep apnea.
It can be frustrating to wake up tired, knowing that you went to bed early enough to have at least 7-8 hours of sleep. However, if you have sleep apnea, constant fatigue—properly named excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)—is a common symptom. You can distinguish EDS from other potential sources of exhaustion by reviewing the common signs of EDS:
- A general lack of energy
- Difficulty waking up in the mornings
- Needing to take naps to function
- Struggling to focus and remember things
- Dozing off at the wrong times
- Excessive exhaustion during the day
Sleep apnea creates an inability to breathe while you sleep, pulling you out of deep sleep multiple times a night. With your ability to reach a deep, restorative level of sleep compromised, EDS is a natural consequence.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) and sleep apnea are often related health concerns. When your airway is regularly blocked at night, your body reacts to the lower oxygen levels. It does this by restricting your blood vessels, which raises your blood pressure and puts your cardiovascular system into overdrive.
Having increased blood pressure as a result of untreated sleep apnea will take a toll on your body. It trains your body to remain in a heightened state, even when you are inhaling plenty of oxygen during the day.
Frequently Stop Breathing While Sleeping
When you experience obstructive sleep apnea, the fatty tissue around the tongue and throat are relaxed and fall to block your airway as you sleep. This block is enough to stop you from breathing for a few seconds, which lowers your blood oxygen levels. The lower oxygen levels trigger your brain to wake up just enough to start your breathing again.
It is very common for those with sleep apnea to experience breathing stoppages more than once a night; but during this whole process, it is unlikely that you will wake up completely. However, as the disorder stops you from breathing and takes you out of deep sleep, it can lead to many other health complications.
It is not uncommon for breathing stoppages due to sleep apnea—also called apnea events—to interrupt your sleep anywhere from 5 to 30 times in just one hour. The duration of these apnea events can last from 10-20 seconds at a time. If the sleep apnea is severe enough, it is possible for someone to experience several hundred apnea events in a single night.
Much like how the lack of oxygen due to sleep apnea can affect your blood pressure, it can also trigger recurrent headaches when you wake up. As the blood vessels in your head widen to bring in more oxygen, it can trigger a vascular headache.
Mood Swings And Depression
Not being able to enjoy deep sleep can take a significant toll on your emotional equilibrium. If you have noticed that you have become more irritable, depressed, or experience mood swings, these can all be symptoms of your struggle with sleep apnea.
Overweight Or Obese
Bodyweight is a major trigger for obstructive sleep apnea. If there is excess fatty tissue built up around the throat and neck, it can fall toward the back of your throat when you relax into sleep, blocking your airway. Men with necks measuring 17+ inches in circumference and women with necks 16+ inches in circumference are at a higher risk for sleep apnea.
In fact, not only is being overweight or obese a trigger for sleep apnea, but it can be a symptom of sleep apnea. As you are unable to enjoy quality, restorative deep sleep due to apnea events, your body is not able to rest enough to provide you with the energy to tackle weight loss. Also, the lack of deep sleep can make it harder for your body to process waste products for removal.
Other Potential Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea
Along with the major symptoms of sleep apnea, there are a host of other signs which can indicate that you have sleep apnea. Other potential symptoms include:
- Lowered libido
- Stroke/Heart attack
- Dry mouth in mornings
- Awaken gasping
Find Sleep Apnea Solutions At ApneaMed
Here at ApneaMed, we make accessing sleep apnea solutions easier and more affordable. From our at-home sleep apnea test to ordering an Automatic Positive Airway Pressure (AutoPAP) machine, you can easily find the right solution for managing your sleep apnea here on our website.
To start your journey toward better sleep and improved health, fill out this patient questionnaire and receive a discount when you order a Home Sleep Test.