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The most common symptom of Sleep Apnea is snoring although, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Snoring is likely to be a sign of sleep apnea when breathing is paused and are followed by gasping or choking. Sleep apnea is a serious condition. If you suspect you had sleep apnea, you should consult a healthcare professional.

Loud or frequent snoring

Loud and frequent snoring is the most common symptom of sleep apnea. This sound occurs when vibrations are produced by the upper respiratory airways during sleep. It is caused by partial blockage or obstructions as air is being restricted from moving easily through the airways. People with Obstructive Sleep Apnea have more of a choking sound to their snores. If your bed partner is annoyed by your disruptive, loud snoring and it occurs on a nightly basis it could possibly be sleep apnea and you may want to consult a sleep specialist.

Daytime sleepiness or fatigue

Excessive daytime sleepiness occurs when frequently waking up during the night from lack of oxygen. When the muscles in the upper throat relax during sleep the tissues close and block the airway. Breathing pauses can occur for several seconds to as frequent as 60 times per hour. The brain will sense this and send a message to wake up and restart the breathing. When this occurs a person with sleep apnea will only partially wake and get fragmented sleep, causing excessive tiredness during the day.

Irritability

Sleep apnea may affect your mood. This condition will cause several instances of waking up during the night. A person could wake up over 30 times a night. This will affect one’s ability to achieve a deep restful sleep. The body will signal waking up just enough to try and breath but not enough that we are actually aware that we had woken up several instances. Normal daily stresses and challenges can bring extreme reaction if a person is not properly rested. Being excessively tired can cause irritability and moodiness.

Difficulty concentrating

Sleep apnea can have a profound effect on your ability to concentrate during the day. Also, known as “brain fog”. Daytime sleepiness is common with sleep apnea. These serious disturbances in normal sleep patterns will cause severe sleepiness during the day and will result in poor concentration. The daytime performance will suffer and in some cases cause driving occupations to be very dangerous. Drowsy driving slows reaction time, reduces careful observation and impairs information processing.

Morning Headaches

Waking up with a headache from no other known cause can be a sign of sleep apnea. Dry throat and mouth can also accompany this symptom. If you find you are keeping a bottle of water at bedside it could be due to this condition. When you sleep your airway is partially or completely blocked during sleep. Low levels of oxygen will widen the blood vessels and can cause vascular headaches. The closure causes a reduced amount of oxygen being brought to your brain. This will put you at risk for headaches and most often morning headaches. Along with excessive tiredness, this symptom is the most reported from those that are suffering from sleep apnea. If treated the headaches can be reduced or eliminated.

If you have experienced any of the above symptoms it may be time to contact your doctor for a referral to a sleep specialist. A sleep study can be performed to diagnose the condition. If untreated there are many medical problems that can occur and put you at risk for many health issues. Such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, auto accidents from falling asleep at the wheel, diabetes and depression.