It can be difficult to get a full night’s sleep sometimes. However, even when you do rest soundly, you may not actually be getting healthy sleep. Sadly, you can’t always control what you do when you’re sleeping, even if it threatens your health. Take, for example, sleep apnea: a common and potentially dangerous condition.
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person repeatedly stops and starts breathing while they sleep. Left untreated, sleep apnea can actually affect other systems of the body and your health can deteriorate. Thankfully, though, sleep apnea is treatable. However, a major problem obstructs people from getting treatment for this disorder: the fact that sleep apnea symptoms occur while a person is sleeping. What are the symptoms of sleep apnea, and how do you know when they’re happening?
There are symptoms that you can identify in yourself, as well as ones that your partner can identify for you by noting your sleep habits. Here are the most important facts that you should know about sleep apnea, including its symptoms and where to find treatment if you feel you may be suffering from this disorder.
Symptoms During Sleep
Sleep apnea is easiest to identify in a person while they’re sleeping. In fact, it’s more common for a person’s partner to suggest that they have sleep apnea than for someone to suspect it of themselves. Someone sleeping next to you would be able to identify your symptoms, including:
● Loud snoring
● Inconsistent or unusual-sounding breathing
● Gasping for air
● Moments in which you don’t breathe at all
● Insomnia, or difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep all night
If you sleep alone but have roommates, they may have noticed your symptoms. For example, they may have heard you snoring or gasping for air through your bedroom door. If you suspect that you may have sleep apnea, ask your roommates if they’ve noticed any unusual sleep symptoms like the above.
Symptoms While Awake
Sleep apnea can also show symptoms during your waking hours. If you notice the following symptoms during the day, they may indicate that you’re suffering from sleep apnea at night. These include:
● Waking up with a dry mouth
● Morning headaches
● Feeling tired throughout the day
● Other symptoms of insufficient sleep, including disinterest in work and activities, irritability, and difficulty paying attention
If you notice any of the above symptoms, or someone else notices them in you, schedule an appointment with a doctor right away. You can discuss your symptoms and undergo testing for sleep apnea.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea from which you may suffer:
● Obstructive Sleep Apnea: the most common form of the disorder, which occurs when the muscles of the throat are overly relaxed during sleep
● Central Sleep Apnea: the brain doesn’t correctly signal the muscles that control your breathing while you sleep
● Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome: a combination of both of the above
Why Seek Treatment
Sleep apnea may occur while you’re resting, but it can affect your health in surprising ways. Not only does it deprive your body of fulfilling rest, which is essential for staying healthy, but it can lead to other complications. Sleep apnea has actually been linked to heart conditions like atrial fibrillation and heart attacks, increased stroke risk, a higher likelihood of developing Type II diabetes, liver problems, and more. However, despite the myths and rumors sleep apnea cannot cause you to suffocate in your sleep.
Get in Touch
Sleep apnea should be taken seriously. If you’re showing any of the above symptoms of sleep apnea, please seek treatment right away. The Sleep Medicine Center at BASS Medical Group includes a dedicated, experienced team of experts who can diagnose and treat conditions like sleep apnea. Call us today at (925) 350-4044 to schedule a consultation.