5 Warning Signs You May Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea

5 Warning Signs You May Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Snoring during sleep may seem like a harmless habit that people just need to get over with. Little do most people know that there may be an underlying serious condition that causes it.

Understanding the Condition :

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder affecting more than 18 million adults in the United States. It is a sleep disorder that causes one’s breathing to stop and start repeatedly during sleep. In particular, obstructive sleep apnea happens when the upper airway is partially or completely blocked, which puts on extra work for the diaphragm and chest muscles to intake air into the lungs.

While there are several types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea is the most commonly seen among adults and, in some cases, even among children.

The most notable sign to observe from patients with this sleep disorder is loud snoring; however, there are several other warning signs that you need to watch out for

Chronic Snoring

Individuals with obstructive sleep apnea are known to be habitual snorers , which may be caused by the obstruction in their nasal airways. It usually happens when there is a sinus infection or if a person has nasal polyps or other deformities of the nose, like a deviated septum.

Frequent Waking from Sleep

They may not realize it themselves, but people with sleep apnea often wake up from their sleep at night, leading to several other symptoms. Being deprived of a good night’s sleep can cause one to have increased sleepiness during the day and have trouble concentrating. This can also affect one’s mood, even leading to irritability and depression.

Irregular breathing

Another symptom that patients are typically not aware of when they sleep is having irregular or interrupted breathing. In most cases, it’s usually the spouse or family member who recognizes this sign in the sleep apnea patient.

Due to the blockage in the airway, breathing abruptly stops for a few seconds and resumes with a loud gasp, snort, or jerking motion. The gasping and choking may cause abrupt awakenings, leading to a restless sleep.

High Blood Pressure

A patient’s hypertension may be closely related to his or her sleep disorder. Having obstructive sleep apnea for a long period often causes one’s blood pressure to increase and, eventually, put a strain on the heart.

Over time, the seemingly harmless condition may lead to the enlargement of the heart and an increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Using EKG cables, your health-care provider may be able to diagnose your hypertension and how your obstructive sleep apnea causes it.

Dry Mouth or Sore Throat

Since individuals with obstructive sleep apnea tend to breathe through their mouth during sleep, they usually wake up with a dry mouth or even a sore throat.

What You Can Do

If you suspect that you or your partner may have obstructive sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to set an appointment with a doctor. Be prepared to lay out the symptoms and describe your sleep in as much detail as possible.

To better diagnose your condition, doctors usually recommend a sleep study, which requires you to stay at a sleep center overnight. This allows the health-care team to closely monitor your sleep, including your eye movement, muscle activity, respiratory effort, and blood oxygen levels. Especially for patients with a heart condition, EKG cables may be attached to monitor your heart rate and heart activity during sleep.

If you have been bothered by your or your partner’s loud snoring for some time now, don’t just let it pass. That may be a major cause for concern. Check with your doctor as soon as possible to receive the treatment that you need.

Image credit: Photo by Shane on Unsplash

Author: HealthyLife | Posted on: April 2, 2019

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