How to Recognize Sleep Apnea Symptoms
People often mistake snoring for sleep apnea, but the truth is that sleep apnea is a much more serious condition. Snoring, in general, is not so great for your health (or the health of your marriage). But in and of itself, it is not sleep apnea. On the other hand, those who suffer from sleep apnea are certain to snore, as well as exhibit a number of other related symptoms. And it’s important to know the difference since sleep apnea can be fatal in extreme cases. Here are a just a few signs and symptoms to watch for if you’re trying to determine whether or not you have sleep apnea or merely the occasional bout of snoring.
Some symptoms you won’t be able to observe on your own, but with the help of a partner or a recording device you can discover them. These consist of the issues you’ll experience during the time you’re sleeping (or sleeping and waking throughout the night, as the case may be). Common signs of sleep apnea include gasping and choking. These symptoms occur because your airways become obstructed to the point that you actually stop breathing when you enter REM sleep and your body relaxes. After a short period, say several seconds to a minute or more, your brain realizes that you’ve stopped breathing and wakes your body up to resume breathing, hence the gasping or choking sounds. As a result, frequent waking during the night is also a common symptom associated with sleep apnea.
Of course, you’ll also notice several related symptoms during your waking hours. For starters, those who suffer from sleep apnea often wake up with a sore throat. When you’re breathing with your mouth open and you spend half the night gasping for air, your nasal and bronchial passages are likely to dry out. And as you can imagine, your restless sleep habits can definitely cause waking symptoms like drowsiness, fatigue, a lack of focus, forgetfulness, headaches, and a number of other maladies related to a sleep deficit. You might also notice mood swings and a waning libido.
The best way to determine if you’re suffering from sleep apnea or not is to visit a specialist at a clinic that conducts sleep studies. You’ll schedule an overnight visit for observation, during which your sleep apnea symptoms will be monitored by video and audio recording devices, as well as machinery recording your vital statistics while you sleep. From there, doctors can diagnose your condition, as well as the severity of your sleep apnea. They may recommend weight loss or surgery as potential treatment options.
But in most cases, you’ll have to order a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine from an outlet like CPAPMan to treat your sleep apnea. This treatment, which requires you to wear a mask that forces pressurized air into your breathing passages, is the most effective overall therapy for those living with sleep apnea. Recognizing the symptoms of sleep apnea is not enough – you need to treat the condition if you want to regain your health and your mental faculties. And of course, the threat of failing to wake because you have stopped breathing during sleep should be enough to convince you to seek diagnosis and treatment for sleep apnea.