Sleep Apnea Symptoms & When Should You Visit a Sleep Disorder Clinic

Sleep apnea is a disease that disrupts sleep due to sudden breathing distress encountered in sleep as the breathing process stops briefly and causes suffocation. The disorder is severe because the disruption or breathing stoppage keeps recurring throughout the night at intervals and requires proper treatment by an ENT specialist like the ones you would find at . 

The disease may occur due to many reasons, and the most common type of disease is Obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs due to the relaxation of the throat muscles. Central sleep apnea is a disorder triggered by the brain's inability to send signals to the throat muscles that control breathing and results in its dysfunction that causes breathing distress. A third type of the disease is a combination of both the kinds described here, and doctors call it Complex sleep apnea syndrome.

Symptoms of sleep apnea

Although there are different causes for sleep apnea, the symptoms are often similar as many of the symptoms overlap with one another. A wide range of symptoms like loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep, morning headache, or awakening with a dry mouth are all signs of sleep apnea of some type. Often the person sleeping with you might observe that you shortly stop breathing when you are sleeping, and the cycle continues at some intervals. Feeling too sleepy during the daytime, insomnia or lack of sleep at night, irritability, and attention deficit when you are awake are some definite signs of sleep apnea. 

Are the symptoms persistent?

From the above, some people might think that any one of the symptoms should require immediate medical attention. In reality, only when multiple symptoms indicate sleep apnea becomes a chronic problem that you should know it is time to consult a doctor. The fact is that although loud snoring is the most prominent and common symptom of sleep apnea, it does not mean that it occurs with everyone who suffers from the disease. Discuss your problems with the doctor, and if he finds that there are a few symptoms that have a strong relation to sleep apnea, the doctor will start more investigations to diagnose the disease correctly and then start the treatment.

Factors that increase the risks of sleep apnea

Sleep apnea manifests in the form of obstructed breathing, which most obese people might face because of excess fat deposition in the neck that constricts the upper airway and obstructs breathing.  People with thicker necks are more susceptible to the disease because they have narrow airways than any average person. Sometimes a narrow throat can be due to a congenital disability, and children with inflamed tonsils might experience breathing problems. Those who are on tranquilizers or sedatives for an extended period or used to alcohol are likely to have sleep apnea because they relax the throat muscles and aggravate the problem. 

Older people are more likely to have the disease, and most males are more susceptible to it. Smoking, nasal congestion, and other medical conditions like type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure are all risk factors.

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