Seven Warning Signs That You May Have Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders worldwide. Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form, is estimated to affect 4% of men and 2% of women, yet only one in ten sufferers seek treatment, meaning the vast majority of OSA sufferers are undiagnosed and unaware of the dangers the disorder poses to them. Here seven signs that you may have this common condition.
1. You Snore Loudly
This is the easiest sign to notice, especially if you have a partner who is exasperated by your snoring. If you are sawing logs every night, you may have obstructive sleep apnea.
2. Fatigue Throughout the Day
Sufferers of sleep apnea have pauses in their breathing as they sleep, due to the tissue in their throat relaxing and collapsing, cutting off the airway. They then partially awaken as they struggle to catch their breath. Although sufferers rarely fully regain consciousness, this interrupts their sleep cycle nonetheless, preventing them from entering the REM cycle that really restores the body and mind. If you’re tired all day, this might be the cause.
3. Frequent Nighttime Urination
The spike in heart rate caused by the temporary stoppage of breathing causes higher levels of C02 in the blood, raising its acidity. This triggers a biological process that tells your body to release waste, triggering your impulse to pee. If you’re urinating one or more times most nights, it could be because sleep apnea is tricking your body into feeling the urge.
4. Gasping for Breath
Some sufferers don’t snore, but audibly gasp when their breathing becomes obstructed. If you sleep alone, you might want to record yourself and listen back. If you’re frequently gasping for breath, it’s almost certain you’ve got sleep apnea.
5. Headaches in The Morning
The lack of oxygen in your blood caused by the irregular breathing of sleep apnea can cause sharp headaches upon awakening. If you rarely get headaches throughout the day but have a pounding pain in your forehead and temples every morning, see a sleep specialist, as this may mean you’ve got a severe case of OSA.
6. Depression or Irritability
The lack of restful sleep caused by OSA can cause trouble for your mental health. Sufferers often find themselves feeling depressed, anxious, or irritable, even after what should have been a full night’s sleep. If you’re dealing with any of these problems, it may not be a chemical imbalance—you could have OSA.
7. Dry Mouth or Sore Throat in The Morning
The constant gasping for breath that OSA causes has bad effects on oral health. Many sufferers of the disorder wake up with an extremely dry mouth and sore throat, caused by sleeping with their mouths open and no saliva to lubricate their oral passage.
Sleep apnea can exacerbate or cause higher blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, and acid reflux, and in rare cases, can even be fatal. On top of that, it’s incredibly annoying to anyone who sleeps in the same bed as an untreated sufferer. If you have one or more of the symptoms above, consider seeing a sleep specialist to find out if you have OSA.