Sleep Apnea Symptoms
How Do I Know If I Suffer From Sleep Apnea?
The most accurate method of diagnosing sleep apnea is to get a sleep study. A sleep study — also known as a polysomnography — is a non-invasive, overnight exam conducted by a specialist. By monitoring your sleep, the specialist can get a more accurate and concrete idea of what the problem is.
There are several symptoms and warning signs, which include:
- Loud and/or persistent snoring
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Frequent interruptions to your sleep
- Hypersomnia (excessive and persistent drowsiness or fatigue)
- Lack of energy
- Lack of motivation
- Frequent urination at night
If these symptoms apply to you, we recommend that you conduct a sleep study. We can help connect you with trusted and experienced sleep specialists in Waxahachie. The sleep study is pivotal because not all sleep apnea — and sleep disorders — are the same, and which one you suffer from will matter when it comes to choosing the right treatment solution.
What Types of Sleep Apnea Are There?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea and is caused by the relaxation of the muscles at the back of the throat. Because these muscles support the surrounding tissues, when they relax, the airway closes as you breathe in and therefore disrupt the flow of oxygen into your lungs. Your brain, which is always seeking to protect you, wakes you up as soon as you stop breathing and it can be such a brief stimulus that you may not even remember waking up.
Oral appliances are a great solution for patients who suffer from mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
Central sleep apnea is less common and has more to do with your central nervous system. In these situations, your brain, your muscles, and your lungs simply aren’t communicating well. Treatment for central sleep apnea is very different to treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, so it’s important to know which one applies to you.
Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
Both forms of sleep apnea can be exacerbated by common factors, which include:
Age — older patients are at a higher risk for sleep apnea
Gender — males are at a higher risk for sleep apnea
Risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Excess weight
- Circumference of the neck — thick necks may have narrower airways
- Family history
- Alcohol use
- Nasal congestion
Almost 80 percent of people with sleep apnea don’t realize they have it, so it’s important to get tested if you do share any of these risk factors. Getting diagnosed and treated can not only save your life, it can also dramatically increase its quality.
Patients who suffer from sleep apnea are also likelier to suffer from other complications.
Sleep apnea grows the risk for high blood pressure and/or heart problems, such as heart attacks and strokes. Sleep apnea also correlates with Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which is linked to heart disease. It can also lead to liver problems and complications with prescription medications.
Sleep Apnea and Your Well Being
Sleep apnea will not only decrease the amount of time you sleep, it will also decrease the quality of the sleep you do get. It’s no wonder that those affected by it wake up with headaches and go through their day with little energy. By decreasing energy and motivation, sleep apnea can impact your success at work and your relationships.
In fact, depression is associated with sleep apnea as well. Because sleep apnea saps you of energy and passion, this affects your beliefs about yourself. This association between sleep apnea and depression is independent of other factors such as weight, age, and gender. The link is with sleep apnea, specifically.
Getting treated for sleep apnea can change your life on a major level because it can improve both your physical and emotional health. The difference can be as stark as that between night and day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a deviated septum cause obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?
A deviated septum can make your sleep apnea symptoms worse by further narrowing your airway. However, there isn’t any evidence that suggests a deviated septum alone can cause sleep apnea.
In one study, a group of 49 patients with obstructive sleep apnea had surgery to correct their deviated septa. Even though the patients saw improvements in snoring, it was not effective in treating OSA.
Can sleep apnea cause anxiety?
Repeatedly losing sleep creates a deficit in your sleep bank which makes it difficult to handle stressful situations and can lead to anxiety. While there’s a definite connection between sleep apnea and anxiety, it’s often unclear whether the loss of sleep is causing anxiety or the anxiety itself is causing the disorder.
Unfortunately, it may also be a two-way connection. Patients who suffer from anxiety might be at higher risk for developing a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea. This means that if you treat one of the conditions, you may be able to alleviate the other as well.
With an oral appliance, you can improve your anxiety without ever taking a prescription medication. Contact our Waxahachie office to learn more by calling (972) 737-5337 — one of our knowledgeable team members will be happy to answer your questions.