6 Signs You Might Have Sleep Apnea

sleep apnea

A large number of individuals suffer from a form of sleep disorder each year, with one of the most common being sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by intermittent stops and starts of your breathing during sleep. It is a very serious health risk affecting millions of Americans, including children.

There are two kinds of sleep apnea – obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common condition and occurs when your airway collapses or becomes obstructed during the night. Central sleep apnea, meanwhile, is common in people with heart disease or neurological disorders.

What causes sleep apnea?

If you’re wondering what causes sleep apnea, you should be aware that there are a host of factors that contribute to increasing a person’s risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea. They include;

  • Being overweight
  • Gender – men are more likely to be at risk than women
  • Old age
  • Family history
  • Small airways
  • Allergies or other congestion-causing conditions
  • Lifestyle choices such as smoking
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes, stroke, or heart failure

Central sleep apnea on the other hand occurs when the brain is unable to send the right signals to the muscles to start breathing. Although central sleep apnea is less common than obstructive sleep apnea, its symptoms are quite similar.

How to tell if you have sleep apnea

A lot of people suffer from sleep apnea without realizing it. However, if left untreated, sleep apnea can degenerate into a host of other health problems, including cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and exhaustion-related accidents. So, how can you differentiate a restless night from sleep apnea? Here are some signs of sleep apnea to look out for.

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1. You Snore Loudly

People who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea often snore loudly because the body has to work harder than usual to push air through their airways. Although snoring alone may not necessarily imply you’re suffering from the condition, it is important to see a doctor if you have a persisting snoring problem so they can confirm if it’s related to sleep apnea or not.

2. You Gasp During Sleep

As explained, sleep apnea is characterized by breathing stops and starts during sleep. When this happens, your body naturally responds by gasping for air, a cycle that can occur as many as 30 times every hour. Fortunately, it is easy to notice these sounds. If a friend, spouse, or a family member has noticed you gasp while sleeping,  it is recommended that you seek a doctor immediately. This lack of oxygen affects your sleep quality and places an unhealthy physical strain on your body.

3. You Are Obese

Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in people who are overweight, with studies showing that obese people are twice as likely to develop the disorder than adults with normal weights. Extra body weight results in fat deposits forming around your upper airway. The deposits then go on to obstruct your breathing when you are asleep and the muscles around your throat relax.

4. You Have High Blood Pressure

Another sign you might be experiencing sleep apnea is if you notice a spike in your blood pressure. Frequent stops in breathing throughout the night deprive your body of free-flowing oxygen. The resultant effect of this is a drop in oxygen levels which automatically increases your blood pressure. However, you need the diagnosis of a professional doctor to confirm if sleep apnea is contributing to your high blood pressure.

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5. You Experience Chronic Fatigue

It is expected that nights filled with choking, gasping, and snoring will leave you waking up extremely tired. Untreated sleep apnea only makes it difficult for you to achieve the deep, restful sleep you desire. As such, if you feel tired each morning, even after having slept for a reasonable period, you might be experiencing this sleep disorder.

6. You Wake Up With Other Symptoms

Similar to waking up feeling tired, if you often wake up with a headache, sore throat, or dry mouth, these are other signs of sleep apnea. A person suffering from the disorder experiences headaches upon waking, which is linked to poor sleep quality and the strain the body goes through as it struggles for oxygen throughout the night. A dry mouth and sore throat, meanwhile, are indicative of their struggle to breathe while sleeping.

How To Manage Sleep Apnea

If you experience two or more of the signs of sleep apnea mentioned above, you must consult a sleep disorder doctor as soon as possible. We have experienced health practitioners committed to providing the best services for you. Simply click here to contact us today.

Meanwhile, here are some helpful remedies you might want to implement to manage your condition.

  • Change your sleep position so you are not laying on your back
  • Lose weight if you’re obese
  • Avoid alcohol or medications that cause drowsiness
  • Stop Smoking
  • Try nasal sprays or allergy medications to relieve congestion
  • Use a mouthpiece or dental appliance for mild cases, to keep your airways open
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