Sleep apnea symptoms are alarming. And recognizing what they are can save your health and possibly your life. How?
Much in the same way that miners used to use canaries when they were deep underground. Canaries are sensitive to methane and carbon monoxide. So if the canary stopped singing, the miners knew their air supply was in danger and they had to get the heck out of the mine.
In the same vein, symptoms sleep apnea exhibits can be your "canaries in a coal mine." The reason is because most men and women with this disorder don't know they have it. So if you or, more likely, your bed partner, recognize several of the following sleep apnea symptoms, it can alert you to the deadly dangers that may be lurking in your bed at night.
There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Fortunately, central sleep apnea is rare. Therefore, I am restricting my discussion here to obstructive sleep apnea symptoms. I'm also referring here to apnea in adults and not obstructive sleep apnea in children or infants.
I mentioned that most people with apnea do not even know they have it. So perhaps the biggest clue...the most recognizable of all the sleep apnea symptoms to look for during the waking hours is...
You may have a consistent feeling of being always tired.
This drowsiness has serious consequences because people with sleepapnea fall asleep very easily. This may include falling asleep while driving or at a traffic light...falling asleep during a conversation...and people with this problem can even fall asleep when they're eating.
Being tired all the time can also have a major impact on your career and finances. Why? Because excessive daytime drowsiness can severely impact your work performance.
Mental sharpness declines. Forgetfulness can be more common. Concentration goes out the window. In fact, sleep doctors have known for some time that there is a similarity between adhd symptoms (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Of course, the sleepy effects of sleep apnea and the resulting loss of energy does not automatically mean a person has this dangerous sleep disorder. So here's another one of the key symptoms sleep apnea produces...
Another one of the major characteristics people typically have is high decibel, vacuum-cleaner-noise-level
Does your partner snore like a leaf blower and rattle the walls with their snoring? Is their snoring intermittent or cyclic (snoring does not happen with every breath), with frequent periods of silence?
Or are you a snorer whose bed partner has had to escape to another part of the house in order to get a good night's sleep...because you snore like a freight train?
If so, consider these as important warning signs that something is not right. Apnea is associated with snoring and snoring is a sign of impaired breathing. However, just because someone snores does not mean they have this disorder. But if the snoring is really loud, beware!
Especially beware if you have two of the other killer sleep apnea symptoms sufferers usually have:
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is extremely common in patients with apnea sleep disorders. In apnea, breathing stops, and blood pressure rises.
That's one reason why there is such a strong severe sleep apnea association with heart disease, stroke, and congestive heart failure.
A recent article in the sleep journal Sleep and Breathing puts this quite bluntly by saying that "Obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of coronary events or death from cardiovascular causes." See Sleep Breath 2010 Jun;14(2):131-6. Epub 2009 Sep 24.
Another article in The New England Journal of Medicine, November 10, 2005, concluded: "The obstructive sleep apnea syndrome significantly increases the risk of stroke or death from any cause..."
Also note that men who snore have twice the risk factors for high blood pressure.
These heart problems are compounded by the sleep apnea-obesity connection. People who are obese or overweight are more likely candidates for nighttime breathing problems and disorders (however, thin people can have apnea too).
If you or someone you love has all four of the above symptoms, sleep apnea is a very real possibility. Sleep apnea tests at one of the sleep apnea clinics should be something you should seriously consider after discussing things with your doctor.
It could literally change and even save your life. And it's the best way to confirm diagnosis and treatment (although there are some home test kits I've heard about that I'm going to be looking into).
Now that I've given you four of the main sleep apnea symptoms to look for, let me close this article by giving you the full list of all the symptoms sleep apnea is associated with:
The symptoms sleep apnea produces are some of the most undiagnosed conditions in medicine and may often go undetected by your local doctor. So by you knowing what signs to look for, you are better equipped to do something about this serious sleep disorder.
And if you or someone you love has these sleep apnea symptoms, you probably want to know
"What is sleep apnea anyway?" See my article on that in the more helpful articles section below.
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The most important thing to take away from this article is to not ignore sleep apnea symptoms. You will feel better and live so much healthier if you do something about sleep apnea.
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