Do I have Sleep Apnea? One Dad’s Search for Answers [2018 Update]

 

snoring is it a sign of sleep apnea

One of the most common sleep disorders that affect Americans today is sleep Apnea. There are an estimated 20 million cases in the US and about 80% of these have not even been diagnosed properly. Many people are completely unaware of the sleep disorder or how it can be affecting their general health.

Then many others can be aware they have a sleeping disorder but unaware of how this sleep disorder but unsure of the grave consequences of allowing this condition to go on untreated.

Following are some tell-tale signs that the condition is serious and you will want to discuss the condition with a reputable sleep specialist and medical practitioner.

Tell-tale Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Snoring

most people are not even aware that they have a snoring condition and only become aware of the problem when a bed partner (or person next door) is deprived of their sleep due to the raucous breathing in such a close vicinity.

While snoring is one of the most common symptoms, it is not the only way to tell. Many people who snore do not have sleep apnea and by the same measure, many who have sleep apnea don’t snore. But if the snoring is loud, chronic and a regular occurrence, it could very likely be sleep apnea. This would be a good time to talk with your medical provider about the extent of your condition.

Frequent breaks or pauses in breathing

In some of the most serious types of sleep apnea, the fatty tissues around the throat and tongue can become relaxed when sleeping and obstruct the path of the windpipes. This can impede airflow entirely or partially and cause the oxygen levels in your blood to drop dramatically. This will cause your brain to deliver and emergency wake up call that will jolt you and allow you to continue normal breathing patterns.

These jolts can be experienced in a number of different ways, but it is possible that the body becomes more accustomed to them as time goes by. It may be that your body jolts awake, but you don’t even realize they happen as you are not really stirred from sleep, or just barely.

While these sudden jolts can go undetected, they do interrupt the important sleep cycles of the body. This can lead to feelings of strong fatigues and tiredness throughout the day. This can lead to many of the other symptoms included on this list.

You’re Tired all of the Time

You will then get out of bed the following morning assuming you will be well-rested and full of energy for the day. The truth is that even though you spend a full 7 – 8 hours in bed, your quality of sleep is very poor because you lost so much of your regular sleep cycle to these interruptions. For this reason, one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea is EDS or excessive daytime sleepiness. EDS is best described as an overwhelming sleepiness that can strike anytime from mid-morning to late afternoon.

The most common symptoms of EDS include difficulty getting out of bed in the mornings, excessive fatigue at odd hours of the day, the impulse to nap for hours on end (which can help if kept regular) and a difficulty concentrating that can tend to get worse as the day progresses. EDS can be an especially dangerous condition for those working with heavy machinery or driving.

You frequently wake with headaches

It is also common to wake with mild to extreme headaches when suffering from sleep apnea. Because the halted and irregular breathing patterns are not distributing oxygen properly throughout the body and primarily the brain. Low levels of oxygen cause the blood vessels of the brain to widen and this can cause a vascular headache. Along with the EDS, headaches are the most common symptom of sleep apnea. This is because many may not be fully aware of the symptoms of irregular sleep patterns and snoring.

You Have High Blood Pressure

Hypertension is another condition that is commonly linked to sleep apnea. This is caused by the same lack of oxygen that can cause headaches of all severities. While your brain will constantly alert the body to the low levels of oxygen, these constant threats are not without their consequences. When your body comes to feel these threats on a nightly basis, the body becomes used to restricting its blood vessels during the day when you have normal breathing.

You are often irritable, depressed, or experience mood swings.

The sleep cycle is essential for regulating a wide variety of bodily functions from hormonal balance to information management and experience assimilation. When the sleep cycle is thrown off kilter, the entire body can suffer. If you are suffering from a bad mood, depression or anxiety, consider looking into your sleep patterns.

Bottom Line

It’s impossible to know for sure if you’re truly suffering from sleep apnea without consulting with your doctor and having a sleep study done. If you suspect that you may be suffering from this condition, seek medical attention ASAP!

Resources:

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sleepapnea/

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