What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

insomnia

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  • Sleep apnea patients are prone to what’s considered the first sign of sleep apnea: snoring. It is a hoarse or harsh sound that occurs when breathing is partially obstructed in some way during sleep
  • Sleep apnea patients, whether young or old, must be mindful of the symptoms that they may be experiencing to help them get diagnosed faster and be immediately treated

Sleep apnea patients are prone to what’s considered the first sign of sleep apnea: snoring. It is a hoarse or harsh sound that occurs when breathing is partially obstructed in some way during sleep. Snoring should not be taken lightly as 75 percent of people who regularly snore are said to have obstructive sleep apnea, which can lead to a higher risk of a heart attack. But snoring is only one of the many sleep apnea symptoms you should be aware of.

Common Signs of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea symptoms that manifest in men and women include:1,2

Episodes of breathing stoppage during sleep, often witnessed by another person

Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat

Waking up frequently to urinate

Morning headaches

Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)

Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)

Feeling irritable or depressed

Having mood swings or personality changes

Memory or learning problems

Attention problems and/or failure to concentrate

Grinding and clenching of teeth is another common sign of sleep apnea. Plus, teeth grinding is said to be an indicator of an upper airway obstruction that can cause the body to compensate by attempting to move your jaw to open the airway.

Symptoms Specific to Types of Sleep Apnea

Patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or central sleep apnea (CSA) also tend to develop these particular symptoms:3,4

OSA-Specific Symptoms CSA-Specific Symptoms
Abrupt awakenings accompanied by gasping or choking Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath
High blood pressure Shortness of breath that's relieved by sitting up
Nighttime sweating Chest pain at night
Decreased libido

Consult a Doctor if These Severe Sleep Apnea Symptoms Occur

It’s recommended to talk to a doctor if any of these symptoms manifest:5

  • Loud snoring that disrupts your or your companion’s sleep
  • Shortness of breath, gasping for air or choking that wakes you (or others) up
  • Intermittent pauses in breathing during sleep
  • Excessive daytime drowsiness, which can cause you to fall asleep while working, watching TV or even driving

You can also find a specialist who can help you address sleep apnea at the foundational level.

What Happens if Sleep Apnea Is Left Untreated

There are sleep apnea side effects that can develop if the disease isn’t treated immediately. Breathing disruptions associated with sleep apnea won’t just disrupt sleep and cause feelings of tiredness, but also trigger poor health and chronic disease via these mechanisms:

Reducing the amount of oxygen in the blood: This can impair function of internal organs and/or worsen existing health conditions.

Slowing down or preventing critical detoxification of brain tissue: Sleep disruptions can cause the brain’s waste removal system, called the glymphatic system, to operate poorly. The glymphatic system operates only during deep sleep.

Disturbing circadian rhythms: This may reduce melatonin production and disrupt other body chemicals.

Preventing release of the growth hormone: When this happens, optimal growth and development are prevented.

Interfering with deep sleep: The disease can contribute to lack of focused attention during the day.

Increasing sympathetic tone: Eventually, this can cause problems with bed-wetting, night sweating, night terrors, restless sleep and anxiety.

Meanwhile, sleep apnea in children may lead to problems, such as:6

  • Hyperactivity
  • Negative effects to mental functioning
  • Poor school performance
  • Angry or hostile behavior
  • A tendency to breathe through their mouths or their noses during the day

Sleep apnea patients, whether young or old, must be mindful of the symptoms that they may be experiencing to help them get diagnosed faster and be immediately treated. Furthermore, family members, relatives and/or friends should also be watchful for indicators of sleep apnea, since some patients may not be aware that they are already showing symptoms of this disease.

MORE ABOUT SLEEP APNEA

Sleep Apnea: An Introduction

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep Apnea Causes

Types of Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep Apnea Testing

Sleep Apnea Surgery

Sleep Apnea Prevention

Sleep Apnea FAQ



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