Sleep apnea, although it affects more than 18 million Americans, is for some unknown reason, rarely talked about. In a sense, it is the sleeping giant of the medical world, slowly and surely depriving sufferers of restful sleep at night, among other things. Sprinklings of studies on sleep apnea have linked the disorder to an increased risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and most recently, stroke. Knowing the symptoms and signs of sleep apnea is key to treating it and restoring your sleep and overall health. If you suffer from anything ranging from moderate to severe sleep apnea, you may experience any or all of these familiar symptoms.
Disruptive snoring at night
This occurs most often with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the more common type of the disorder. Your partner may alert you to this behavior, as you may not even be aware of its occurrence.
Hypersomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)
This symptom is not simply closing your eyes for a few seconds at your computer screen. It is marked by a sudden, uncontrollable urge to sleep. The most extreme form is known as narcolepsy. If you find yourself feeling drowsy at several points during the day, you may have severe sleep apnea.
Sudden awakenings during the night
You may or not remember these occurring. They usually indicate central sleep apnea (CAS). Again, your partner may remember these better than you. Additionally, ask your partner if he or she notices any periods of breathing cessation during your sleep cycle, as this often accompanies severe sleep apnea.
Insomnia or difficulty falling asleep
Insomnia, along with sleep apnea, can increase your risk of being involved in a car accident, as 20% of all serious wrecks occur because of driver sleepiness. If you are having a tough time falling asleep and getting the sleep you need to properly function, consult our sleep apnea doctor. You may not have sleep apnea, but sleep aids and recommended lifestyle changes may help you get your sleeping and waking life back on track.
Do not let the sleeping giant that is severe sleep apnea get the better of you. Pay close attention to your symptoms, talk to your partner and your doctor, and try to be as healthy as you can be.