If you've been experiencing sleep disturbances, you may be wondering if you have sleep apnea. As many as 18 million Americans have this potentially life-threatening disorder. While it's best to get checked out by a doctor who specializes in apnea or other sleep disorders, you can first get a pretty good idea of whether or not you have apnea by checking out this list of common symptoms:
Serious Snoring and Gasping
The biggest sign of sleep apnea is a dramatic increase in loud, persistent snoring, often accompanied by gasping for breath. If your partner has recently started complaining about impossible to ignore snoring, you very well may have sleep apnea. Many sufferers of sleep apnea also experience difficulty breathing while asleep, which leads to waking up gasping.
Feeling Tired All Day
Some people with sleep apnea wake up frequently but only for seconds at a time and don't realize they've done so. So they may think they got a full eight hours of sleep while actually getting much less sleep than this. In addition, sleep itself may be lower quality and less deep. A big sign that this is happening to you is if you feel tired all day, no matter how early you went to bed.
Waking Up with Headaches
If you consistently wake up with severe headaches, you may have sleep apnea. Because sleep apnea leads to frequent interruptions in breathing during sleep, your brain may not be getting as much oxygen as it should, leading to bad headaches. If these headaches worsen over time, it may be a sign that your sleep apnea is becoming more severe.
High Blood Pressure
Sleep apnea often leads to high blood pressure. This is because the frequent disruptions to your breathing while you sleep signal to your brain that you are in an emergency situation, leading to elevated blood pressure. While temporary, if this continues to happen night after night, it can lead to chronic hypertension.
If you're normally cheerful and laid back but have found yourself getting moody and irritable for no apparent reason, this could be an additional sign of sleep apnea. Low quality, frequently interrupted sleep frequently leads to moodiness.
If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, it's best to get in to see a doctor right away since this condition can be dangerous if left untreated. For more information, contact Glenmore Family Dental Care or a similar location.