Sleep Apnea: Types, Signs and SymptomsJuly 5, 2018
Leaving OSA Untreated: Risks and ComplicationsJuly 11, 2018
If You Experience Any of These Symptoms, You May be at Risk for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea affects many people throughout the United States. It is often underdiagnosed, and, in most cases, the individual isn’t even aware the are experiencing some type of sleep apnea. There are several different types of sleep apnea, but obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the form that is seen the most.
Why is Obstructive Sleep Apnea So Dangerous?
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax. This relaxation results in a narrowing or even complete closure of your breathing airway. When this happens, your body is not getting enough oxygen to your blood which increases your blood pressure and strains your heart, among other resulting symptoms. If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in serious health complications or even death.
Are You at Risk?
If you experience any of the following, you may be at risk for OSA:
- Snoring – Snoring is the number one because is a very clear, and often, very loud indication that you’re experiencing some kind of obstruction to your airway.
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness – From time to time we all feel a bit drowsy during the day, however, excessive sleepiness is much different than occasional drowsiness. If you have OSA, your sleep patterns are interrupted throughout the night. You may not even know it, but your not getting the rest you need at night which results in the daytime tiredness.
- High Blood Pressure – High blood pressure, as discussed above, increases during episodes of apnea. If you already have high blood pressure, this could be an indicator of sleep apnea and the apnea is only further aggravating it and putting you at an increased risk for heart attack or stroke.
- Acid Reflux – Acid reflux is an indicator because when your breathing is stopped, your body increases efforts to take in air. When that happens, you experience more intense abdominal contractions which forces up stomach acid. Not only is this a potential indicator of sleep apnea, it is also extremely negative for your throat, oral and dental health.
- Headaches – Three types of headaches have been linked to OSA: morning headaches, cluster headaches and migraines. When your body doesn’t get enough oxygen, this can result in either a morning headache or cluster headaches. A migraine can result when your sleep patterns are severely disrupted.
- Bruxism – Bruxism is a condition where you clench or grind your teeth, often while sleeping. Those with sleep apnea experience post-apnea clenching as a result of the body activating muscles to regain control of the airway.
- Diabetes – The connection between diabetes and sleep apnea often has to do with weight. Those who have diabetes may also have symptoms of sleep apnea.
- Insomnia – Because your sleep patterns are constantly interrupted, and in some cases you wake up gasping for air, this can lead some people to having a difficult time staying asleep.
- Social Changes or Depression – Lack of sleep, or lack of quality sleep, can result in a change in mood and attitude. Often making people unhappy, irritable or depressed. These changes can begin to affect your work or school performance and relationships. Changes in mood, attitude or level of energy can indicate a problem with your sleep pattern due to OSA.
If you’ve experienced any of the above warning signs of OSA, either call your family doctor or schedule a complimentary consultation with our office: 906-774-0100.