Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that affects countless men and women all over the world. It can cause serious health issues if it goes undiagnosed, and diagnosing is often difficult for doctors.
It can affect a person’s work performance, concentration, and overall well-being. Serious side effects of sleep apnea include high blood pressure and heart palpitations. So how do doctors diagnose this ailment? Well, there are several signs, all of which will be discussed below.
If you think that you may be suffering from sleep apnea, visit your doctor for a professional opinion.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is when a person’s breathing becomes interrupted while they sleep. This can happen multiple times throughout the night and can have serious consequences. It can easily affect someone’s job performance and driving skills, as they can feel tired the next day, making it dangerous. It can also cause high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and heart failure.
This is why it is important to diagnose the problem quickly and receive life-saving treatment.
Elderly individuals, adults, children, and babies are all prone to sleep apnea. Most of the time, it affects overweight people of both sexes. This is because excess weight can obstruct the airways while sleeping, causing sleep apnea.
Signs Of Sleep Apnea
Snoring, Gasping Or Choking
The most common signs of sleep apnea are snoring, gasping for air, or choking while asleep. Blocked airways are the root cause of sleep apnea, so if you find yourself snoring loudly, choking, or gasping, you might have a blocked airway.
If you are unsure of whether you are doing any of these things, record yourself while sleeping and check the recording in the morning. Alternatively, you can also try to sleep on your side, as it eases breathing.
Sleepiness, Fatigue, Or Headaches
Any kind of disturbances while sleeping can cause different health complications. A good night’s sleep is vital for a person to function normally throughout the day.
Sleep apnea can cause sleepiness during the day, fatigue, and even headaches. These are all things that can alter your performance at work and home. If you feel that you are sleepier than usual, sluggish, or getting more frequent headaches, you may have sleep apnea.
Moodiness, Forgetfulness, Or Irritability
People with sleep apnea often find themselves being unusually moody, forgetting even the simplest of things, and being even more irritated than usual. This is totally normal, as having an interrupted night of sleep can affect the hormonal balance in the body.
It is best to find an appropriate course of treatment to prevent these situations and to wake up feeling fresh.
Dry Mouth, Restlessness, Or Sudden Awakenings
While some people with sleep apnea may not notice the other symptoms because they stem from the mind, these symptoms are on the more physical side. If you are waking up with a dry mouth or need to constantly drink water throughout the night, you are probably snoring or gasping for air while you sleep.
If you can’t seem to stay asleep for long periods of time or you are experiencing tossing and turning, you might be having problems breathing. If you find yourself awake frequently throughout the night, then the underlying issue may be sleep apnea.
Frequent Nighttime Urination Or Night Sweats
If you find yourself going to the bathroom quite a lot in the evening or waking up in a puddle of your own sweat, you may have sleep apnea. While simply being woken up can make you want to go to the bathroom, it can also be caused by something else.
The oxygen depletion that happens while you have sleep apnea promotes blood flow to the kidneys, which in turn makes you want to go to the bathroom more. Not only this, but it also increases cortisol in the body which induces night sweats. While night sweats are not that common in adults or the elderly, it is a common sign in babies and toddlers.
If your toddler is constantly waking up covered in sweat, you may want to consult with a doctor on finding the appropriate treatment.
Treatments Available For Sleep Apnea
There are a few common treatments available that can help diagnose and treat sleep apnea. The most common way doctors diagnose sleep apnea is by conducting an overnight study.
There are two different types of studies that are known as a polysomnogram, or a home sleep test. The main difference is that one is performed in a lab and the other is performed at home.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms and any other underlying medical issues you may have, your doctor will perform the one that suits you best.
Depending on your symptoms, treatments may vary. If your sleep apnea is being caused by excess weight, then your doctor will most likely recommend good old-fashioned exercise. It is recommended that most people also stop consuming alcohol and sleep medication to see if their symptoms decrease.
Some people also may want to invest in a sleeping wedge to make sure that they stay on their side the whole night and do not end up sleeping on their backs. Nasal sprays and breathing strips may also help to relieve airways at night.
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is PAP therapy. It is a device that comes with a mask that is worn while sleeping. It constantly blows air into a person’s airways while they sleep. The amount of air is adjustable, so it might take a few tries to find the right pressure for your needs.
Sleep apnea is not uncommon at all. It can be dangerous if it goes undiagnosed. Not only does it cause a wide array of health issues, but it can also bring your quality of life down in general.
If you are someone who thinks you might be dealing with sleep apnea, you should immediately consult your doctor so you can be diagnosed properly and can start treatment right away.