It can be difficult to identify sleep apnea on your own, since the most common symptoms happen when you’re sleeping. Ask someone to observe your sleep habits, or you can record yourself sleeping to assess whether pauses happen while you snore, and if you choke or gasp after these pauses. These few symptoms could mean you may have sleep apnea.
Some major warning signs:
- Loud, disruptive and chronic snoring nightly
- Choking, snorting, or gasping during sleep
- Extended breaks and pauses in breathing
- Waking up at night feeling short of breath
- General overall fatigue throughout the day, no matter how much time you spend in bed
Other symptoms can include:
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Frequent nighttime awakenings, insomnia or restless sleep habits
- Frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom
- Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
- Increased moodiness, irritable, or depressed
- Morning headaches
Often people ask whether it is sleep apnea or just loud snoring. The biggest difference between sleep apnea and snoring is how you feel the next day. Regular snoring doesn’t interfere with the quality of your sleep as much as sleep apnea does, so you’re less likely to suffer from extreme fatigue and sleepiness throughout your day.
Causes of sleep apnea can include:
Anyone can have sleep apnea, you do have a higher risk for obstructive sleep apnea if you’re:
- Overweight, male, with a family history of sleep apnea issues
- Over the age of 50, a smoker, affected by high blood pressure
- Black, Hispanic, or a Pacific Islander
- Someone with a neck circumference greater than 15.75 inches (40 cm)
Some other physical attributes that could put you at risk for obstructive sleep apnea include a deviated septum, receding chin, or enlarged tonsils. Your airway may be getting blocked or narrowed while you’re sleeping, basically because your throat muscles relax more than normal. If you have allergies or other medical conditions that cause nasal congestion and blockage can also contribute to sleep apnea.
Get an assessment today if you suspect sleep apnea
Sleep apnea can be a potentially serious disorder. Contact us if you spot some of these warning signs.