Sleep Apnea Symptoms & Your Health

man tired at work

Determining What Your Symptoms Mean

When you begin to notice certain signs of a sleep disorder, it can be confusing and you might not know whether or not you should take the next steps. However, learning about the symptoms of sleep apnea and getting a diagnosis through a professional sleep study will help guide you to the treatment you need.

Sleep apnea is generally associated with deep, loud snoring and gasps for air in the middle of the night. Along with these symptoms, you should also look out for:

  • Excessive daytime drowsiness
  • Lack of energy
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased motivation
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or headache
  • Reduced libido
  • Mood swings
  • Frequent nighttime urination
woman checking blood pressure

Risks Factors for Sleep Apnea

Unfortunately, there are some uncontrollable risk factors that can increase your chances of obtaining sleep apnea. Men are much more likely to suffer from this sleep disorder than women, and older adults are also at a higher risk.

However, this doesn’t mean women and our younger generation can’t have sleep apnea, instead, they’re just at a lower risk. Additional risk factors may include:

  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Being overweight
  • Having a large neck circumference
  • Nasal congestion

Potential Health Complications

Sleep apnea doesn’t only harm your sleep, but it also greatly impacts the quality of your life including your mental and physical health. If left untreated this harmful sleep disorder can increase your risk for a number of serious medical conditions such as:

  • Strokes
  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Metabolic disease
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Liver problems

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of sleep apnea are there?
How can I reduce my risk of sleep apnea?
What happens during a sleep study?
What if I don’t seek treatment for sleep apnea?

What types of sleep apnea are there?

There are two more common types of sleep apnea known as obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is the most common form of the sleep disorder, occurring when the throat muscles relax at night. This interrupts a person’s breathing pattern throughout the night as it causes a blockage in their airway.

The other form, central sleep apnea (CSA), happens when your brain doesn’t signal your body to breathe. This causes pauses in breath for short periods of time throughout sleep.

How can I reduce my risk of sleep apnea?

In order to reduce your risk of sleep apnea, there are some lifestyle changes that might be great methods to alleviate symptoms. Several ways that have been proven to be beneficial include:

  • Following a well-balanced diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Changing your sleep position
  • Using a humidifier to open your airway
  • Avoiding tobacco use
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Using an oral appliance

What happens during a sleep study?

A sleep study is the only way of diagnosing sleep disorders including sleep apnea. This non-invasive test observes your brain and body at night and looks for any possible disruptions in the pattern of your sleep.

Your overnight sleep study will measure your heart rate, snoring, body movements, breathing, and more. To ensure an accurate diagnosis, most tests need at least seven hours of sleep. The data will be further evaluated by a certified sleep physician to help determine the best treatment.

Sleep studies are typically completed at a sleep lab or you may be given an at-home sleep test for your convenience.

What if I don’t seek treatment for sleep apnea?

Unfortunately, sleep apnea doesn’t go away on its own and can take a serious toll on your mental and physical health if left untreated. If you don’t seek treatment for sleep apnea, the consequences can be life-threatening.

Untreated sleep apnea has been linked to a higher risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and more.

Discover Your Symptoms & Save Your Health

By identifying what the causes of your snoring or daytime fatigue might be, it can help save your life. Sleep apnea is a harmful condition that can lead to future health risks without treatment.

Here at Sleep Well Philidelphia, Dr. Slobodinsky can help treat your sleep apnea comfortably and affordably. Learn more about our treatment options by giving our office a call for a consultation today – (215) 739-2543.