Do you wake up in the morning feel as tired as you went to bed? Have you been told that you are snoring high and seem to stop breathing while sleeping? Then you may suffer from sleep apnea. Read on to learn more about the symptoms and diagnosis of this condition.
Sleep apnea or as it is more known as sleep apnea, is a relatively common problem. It causes broken sleep patterns that usually lead to increased fatigue and reduced awareness during waking hours, morning headache or dry throat when you wake up.
The clinical definition of an apnea is a stop of the breath lasting for at least 10 seconds. The medical condition called "sleep apnea" is a state where nurses stop breathing and have repeated apnea for long periods while they sleep.
The most common form is Obstructive sleep apnea (or OSA) and this is where the airway has collapsed or becomes blocked during sleep. When you try to breathe, all air that clicks over the blockage usually causes high snoring, which is almost always associated with OSA. During an apnea where breathing stops completely, the concentration of oxygen in your blood decreases because your lungs do not get fresh air or oxygen to replenish your blood in exchange for carbon dioxide until it reaches dangerously low levels that are low enough to activate your brain to disturb your sleep. The associated reflex function helps to tighten the upper respiratory tract and open your trachea.
Normal breathing then begins again, often with body sharpness, loud sniffing or suffocating noise and usually without even realizing that it has happened.
Factors known to increase the risk of OSA include a family history of sleep apnea, a major neck, a recessed chin, male sex, upper respiratory tract structure disorders, smoking, alcohol use, age and obesity.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs more often in people who are overweight, but it may affect someone.
There is no blood or other post-test test to diagnose the condition and as such, it is usually diagnosed as a result of comments or complaints from your sleeping partner or family who have been worried about your chronic snoring, suffocation or gasping during sleep as well as the longer periods where you Stop breathing completely while you sleep.
Sleep apnea can be a life threatening condition with reduced sleep quality and the usual drops in blood oxygen levels during the apnea that trigger release of stress hormones. These hormones, among other things, increase your heart rate and increase your risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease and related problems.
Less obvious but serious medical problems that may be exacerbated or caused by the condition include weight gain, impotence, memory progression, depression, irritating mood swings and personality charges. Sleep apnea can have a big impact on your life and overall well-being without even knowing it, it can actually ruin your life!
Your partner is worried about your breathing or snoring, you always feel tired during the day and you suspect you may have sleep problems, what should you do next?
The first step is to arrange a meeting with your family doctor to discuss your problems. Your practitioners will probably then arrange a meeting to see a sleep specialist and maybe have a sleep study.
Before your meeting, it usually helps to compile a sleep diary for at least a few days or longer if possible with you or more likely your sleep partner records how you sleep, if you have trouble breathing during the night, noticeable gaps in breathing, choking or gasping events, your snoring, how high it is also how your sleeping position affects it and how you feel in the morning when you wake up and then during the day.
You should also register any other irregularities that may be noted, such as restlessness or leg movement during sleepy and even periods during the day where you may feel asleep or have been very tired.
Having a visible recording of yourself while you sleep can also be useful to help your sleep specialist with his first diagnosis.
Your sleep specialist usually studies the neck for physical reasons for your snoring and apnea, as well as assessing your fitness for the different treatment options. If your specialist suspects you may suffer from sleep apnea, they will usually ask you to have a sleep study done to record your sleepy habits and put in a controlled and supervised environment.