7 Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea You Shouldn’t Ignore
Do you dream of having a good night’s sleep? Are you always worn out at work and even more sleepy at home? If you’ve got chronic exhaustion and a few other symptoms, you might have sleep apnea. There are about 1 billion people in the world who suffer from sleep apnea. The scary part of the disorder is that you may not realize you have it. The warning signs of sleep apnea are often overlooked or misdiagnosed as depression or other mental illness. Sleep apnea can be life-threatening, especially for people who are overweight. If you live alone, you may not be aware of how much you snore. That will delay a diagnosis that needs to happen much more quickly. If you think you might have sleep apnea, this article’s for you. We’ll cover the major symptoms of sleep apnea and help you find ways to get better sleep.
1. Heavy Snoring
Heavy snoring is a classic warning signs of sleep apnea. If your spouse is always telling you that you snore loudly, you might want to visit the doctor. In addition to snoring, you might stop breathing during the night. Sleep apnea occurs for two reasons: your airway gets constricted or your brain doesn’t send the right signals to your lungs. If you wake up gasping for air several times per night, you might have obstructive sleep apnea. It’s worth checking into, especially if you have a family history of sleep apnea. Hispanic and African-American people have a higher risk of sleep apnea than their peers. Ask your parents or siblings if sleep apnea is common in your family.
Do you have major headaches that won’t go away? Are you worried because you have so many severe headaches? When you have central sleep apnea, your body stops breathing altogether. Your airways aren’t blocked: your body is just refusing to breathe. These apnea episodes can happen 10 times per hour or more. When you have such frequent blockage of oxygen to your brain, you’re going to get headaches. If your headaches don’t respond to medication, it’s probably time to consult a physician. You might want to try using a pillow that’s made for people with sleep apnea. Getting a supportive pillow can make you more comfortable and minimize your headaches.
Exhaustion is another classic warning signs of sleep apnea. Do you feel tired at work every day? Or do you feel like you might fall asleep while driving? Sleep apnea is often confused with depression and anxiety. It’s natural to feel exhausted and depressed when your body is straining to breathe at night. If you’re the type of person who can take a three-hour nap and still be tired, you might have undiagnosed sleep apnea. If you can, try to keep a record of your energy levels and how many times you wake up at night. There is a range of helpful products available for people with sleep apnea. You might want to try a mouth guard that’s designed to keep your airway open.
4. High Blood Pressure
Having high blood pressure is one of the major warning signs of sleep apnea! Although this one is hard to pin down. Your doctor might give you medication for your blood pressure, but not realize that it’s due to sleep apnea. In general, you might have to work to get a proper diagnosis. Your blood pressure might improve but your sleep will remain the same. If that happens, tell your doctor that you suspect you have sleep apnea. Having sleep apnea puts you at a high risk for diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes. It’s vital to pursue a diagnosis if you think that you have the condition. Other sleep apnea symptoms include a sluggish libido, nighttime bathroom visits, and dry mouth. Your motor skills and memory could fade as well.
5. Mood Swings
If your mood seems to be getting worse and worse, it could be a warning signs of sleep apnea as a signal to your doctor do that sleep study. There are at-home sleep studies and clinical sleep studies. Your doctor will help you choose the right one. These tests will measure the amount of oxygen in your blood, your brain activity, and how you move around in your sleep. You might find that your mood swings are directly tied to your restless sleep. To increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep, you can try spraying some essential oils on your pillow before bed. Spearmint, lavender, and fenugreek are all considered effective sleep aids. Your doctor may prescribe you a continuous positive air pressure machine, or CPAP. It’s a machine that uses a face mask to give you a steady flow of air. The pressure keeps your airways open and gives you relief from your struggle to breathe.
More than 150 million Americans are considered obese, and your diet could be aggravating your sleep apnea. If you’re trying to lose weight, focus on eating more fruits and vegetables. You might also want to stop eating after a certain time of night. That gives your body time to digest your food. It could also help clear up your nighttime breathing problems. Surprisingly, your sleep apnea could get better if you cut dairy out of your diet. It’s worth experimenting with different foods to see if you sleep better after you eat them. Try to keep a food journal as well so you can monitor your results. Losing weight may not cure your sleep apnea, but it could help cut down the symptoms.
7. Trouble Breathing
If you have trouble breathing at night, you know that something is wrong. You might not realize you’re struggling for breath during the day as well. Try to monitor your breathing during the morning and afternoon. Smokers have an increased risk for sleep apnea, so you might want to cut down if you do smoke. Smoking also increases your risk for a heart attack, so there’s another incentive to cut down or quit. If you feel light-headed when you stand up, that could be one of the symptoms of sleep apnea. Once you take the sleep test, your doctor will have much more insight as to what’s going on inside your body. Take the time to invest in your health: if you suspect you have sleep apnea, push for a diagnosis.
Do Women Have Different Symptoms?
Women can also have sleep apnea, though it’s much more common in men. Their symptoms tend to be exhaustion, becoming light-headed, and mood swings. It can be hard to get a diagnosis because their symptoms are considered part of menopause. If you’re not menopausal and considering having children, it’s vital to get your sleep apnea under control. Sleep apnea puts mothers at risk for gestational diabetes and low infant birth weight. Talk to your doctor and let them know that your exhaustion isn’t getting better with medication or sleep. Ask them to run comprehensive sleep tests on you and be ready to make lifestyle changes if necessary. In addition to losing weight and cutting down on smoking, drinking less alcohol can help manage sleep apnea. No matter how old you are, you can dedicate yourself to improving your health.
Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea in Children
Young children can have sleep apnea, and it’s up to their parents to monitor the symptoms. They will snore, have trouble sleeping, and they may have prolonged bed wetting. If you suspect that your child has sleep apnea, take a video of them while they’re sleeping. That way, you can show your doctor exactly what your child sounds like at night. In general, it’s a good idea to make a video. You don’t want your child to get misdiagnosed with depression or anxiety. If your child doesn’t want to sleep with a CPAP machine face mask, put a fan right next to their bed. The constant flow of air will make them comfortable and help keep their airway open.
How to Know If You Have Sleep Apnea
The warning signs of sleep apnea can vary, but it’s common to wake up at night gasping for air. If you think your spouse is exaggerating your snoring, ask them to make a video. You might be surprised at how loud you’re snoring, and at how many times you stop breathing. If your breathing has stopped more than five times in half an hour, you should urgently see a doctor. If you live alone, you probably won’t be aware that you snore. Try recording yourself, if possible. Just turn on your laptop camera and leave it to run while you’re sleeping. Even if you do it once per week, it’ll be evidence you can show your physician. Before you start your treatment for sleep apnea, talk to your doctor about the medications you currently take. If you’re taking allergy medication, they could be the cause of your sleep apnea. Some medications relax your throat past a healthy point, leading to a blocked airway. We have a wide range of blogs about snoring and sleep apnea, and we also have dozens of product reviews. Check out our blog and send us an email with any questions.
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