Dental sleep medicine is a medical specialty that focuses on the treatment of sleep disorders and disturbances with an oral appliance. One common problem that health care providers trained in sleep medicine focus on is sleep deprivation. This occurs when a person fails to get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to many problems…
Sleep Apnea Warning Signs and Symptoms
Most health conditions have warning signs, and that holds true for sleep apnea. Understanding the common symptoms means you can speak with a professional about these concerns and progress towards a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Commons symptoms of sleep apnea
While some symptoms can be present in a range of conditions, it is a good idea to understand the various warning signs that may be present in an individual with this sleep disorder. Take a look at five common signs:
Snoring is perhaps the most common symptom of this sleep disorder. This does not mean light, gentle snores that occasionally happen or are a result of a stuffy nose from a common cold. Rather, heavy snoring that is strong enough to wake a person or someone lying next to an individual during sleep is a sign that may potentially indicate a sleep disorder. This is usually tested for during a sleep study to determine if sleep apnea is present and how severe it may be.
Constantly feeling tired is a sign of poor sleep. This can lead to daytime drowsiness, falling asleep at work or even when driving. This is beyond simply being tired from staying up too late. It can lead to serious and even potentially dangerous situations, so it is important to not ignore this warning sign.
3. Gasping or choking when waking up
A person’s breathing should remain normal during sleep, so if someone wakes up while gasping for breath or choking it may be a sign that normal breathing was disturbed. Sleep apnea occurs when the airway is temporarily closed, which leads to a pause in breathing. The brain wakes the body when this happens, which results in a person gasping for air and attempting to breathe normally once again.
4. Mood changes
Another common symptom of sleep disorders is changes in a person’s mood. This includes irritability and depression. Please note that these can also be signs of other medical or mental health conditions and should be treated accordingly. That being said, people diagnosed with this sleep disorder have noticed some mood changes before being diagnosed, and that could be contributed to restless and disrupted sleep.
5. Pauses in breathing
This one is difficult because it is usually not noticed until a sleep study test is performed. However, if a person has observed pauses in breathing during sleep, it is a significant warning sign that should not be ignored for any reason. Pauses in breathe during sleep is the very definition of sleep apnea and should be brought to a doctor’s attention immediately.
There are many warning signs that are related to sleep apnea, so being aware of these can help you and a medical team decide on the next steps. Taking note of any symptoms experienced can help lead to a diagnosis and treatment for better health and safe sleep.
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