Anyone that has been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea knows that it’s a serious sleeping disorder that can have lasting effects on both physical and mental health.
It’s a fairly common disorder that can be exacerbated or brought on by bad lifestyle habits including, drinking excessive alcohol, bad eating habits and smoking.
People who suffer from mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety are also prone to suffering from constructive sleep alone at one point in their lives. There are however a number of warning signs that if addressed early can help to stave off any negative effects of the disorder and limit symptoms.
Join us as we dive into all of the warning signs of sleep apnea that you need to be aware of.
Why is It Important to Diagnose Symptoms Early?
Diagnosing symptoms early is crucial in effectively treating obstructive sleep apnea. This is because if it is left untreated, it can cause type 2 diabetes and increase your risk of a heart attack.
Sleep apnea doesn’t discriminate and can affect babies, children and adults. It presents differently in each group, so identifying and treating symptoms early is the best way to counteract any ongoing negative effects.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Snoring Loudly: This is the most common symptom that sleep apnea sufferers tend to experience. It’s a common sleep disorder that is characterised by a lack of air being expelled by the mouth, nose and throat during sleep. Several causes have been associated with snoring disorders including being overweight or smoking tobacco.
You Stop Breathing In Your Sleep: Again this is a very common sleeping disorder symptom that isn’t always a warning sign of sleep apnea but still needs to be considered. This symptom is normally brought on by stress or lack of sleep.
Waking Up Abruptly With Shortness Of Breath: It can be daunting to wake up during the night unable to breathe and you might be surprised about how common this symptom actually is.
Whether it’s down to a bad nightmare or an unhealthy lifestyle, it’s always best to check with a medical professional if you are regularly experiencing shortness of breath whilst sleeping.
You Wake Up Choking Or Gasping: This is an extremely scary early warning sign of sleep apnea that needs to be addressed quickly.
It can have ramifications on your heart and blood flow. If left untreated this symptom can turn into obstructive sleep apnea and contribute towards the early onset of strokes and heart attacks.
You Wake Up With A Sore Throat And Dry Mouth: Breathing through your mouth during the night is a sign that you’re not getting enough air through your nasal passage.
The body will instinctively switch from breathing from the mouth if not enough air can be obtained through the nose. It may just be a sign of a sinus issue but it’s always best to seek professional help to get a clearer understanding of disruptive sleeping disorders.
You Have Difficulty Staying Asleep (Insomnia): We all experience insomnia from time to time, but if it is negatively affecting your life and you are tired and unresponsive during the day, it’s probably best to get it checked out. It can be one of the early warning signs of obstructive sleep apnea and can contribute to stress levels and lower your immune response.
You Have Mood Swings And Are Irritable: If the body doesn’t get enough sleep or if your sleep is consistently disturbed over long periods of time, then you are more likely to have mood swings.
This is because the body uses sleep to replace and balance vital chemical structures in our brains. If your sleep/wake cycle is frequently disrupted, then your body won’t be able to obtain the crucial chemicals that it needs to promote good mental health.
You Have Sleep Apnea Risk Factors: Risk factors for sleep apnea including being overweight, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and smoking tobacco.
This means that certain lifestyle choices can exacerbate sleep apnea symptoms and can become the associated cause of chronic sleeping fatigue. But, lifestyle choices can be easily altered for a better chance of reducing apnea symptoms.
When to See A Doctor
The most important thing about sleep apnea is getting a well-rounded picture of a patient’s sleeping habits and overall health.
Several different factors can affect the outcome of a successful diagnosis. These include gaining a complete picture of a person’s diet, health, sleep-wake cycle, mental health and genetics to fully understand why they are experiencing sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
Doctors will most likely perform a polysomnogram to help diagnose sleep apnea in patients.
It’s used to test and monitor brain waves, breathing patterns, eye movement and blood oxygen levels. Snoring sounds and gasoline actions are also recorded and monitored throughout the night to build an accurate picture.
The most important takeaway from this article should be the necessity to see a doctor early and make a diagnosis as soon as possible. Do not put it off and live with undiagnosed symptoms for years because they can manifest into much more serious complications.
Sleep apnea needn’t be detrimental to your life if it is diagnosed early and managed correctly.
People with obstructive sleep apnea can lead normal lives with relatively little interference from outside. Breathing apparatus or oxygen tanks can be used to reinforce the windpipe during the night and stop it from collapsing.
Using breathing equipment whilst you sleep has been proven to have long term lasting effects for sufferers of sleep apnea and greatly reduces the risk of associated complications such as heart attack, type 2 diabetes and stroke.