A lot of us don’t think that we need to be concerned with snoring, unless our partner is complaining. However, consistent snoring may be one of the signs of sleep apnea, which is very common and poses a potential danger to your health. Sleep apnea means that your breathing will stop and start on a consistent basis while you are sleeping.
Although the condition is treatable, there are a lot of times where it goes undetected. If it is left untreated, it can be extremely dangerous and a serious health risk. It is imperative that you consult with your doctor if you believe that you or someone you love is dealing with sleep apnea. One of the main things that you can do to help educate yourself about the condition is to understand what the warning signs are and what you can do to begin alleviating the risk for developing the condition.
Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea
It can be difficult to try and determine if you are dealing with the potential warning signs of sleep apnea because most of the symptoms occur when you are asleep. Try asking your mate to listen to you while you are sleeping or use a tape recorder to record yourself while you are sleeping.
The major signs of sleep apnea include:
- Loud and consistent snoring
- Gasping and choking while you are sleeping
- Delayed breathing patterns
- Feeling sleepy during the daytime, regardless of how much sleep you had during the night
Some of the other common sings of sleep apnea are:
- Headaches in the morning
- Sleep that is restless
- Awakening a lot throughout the night
- Dry mouth upon awakening
- Frequent bathroom breaks throughout the night
- Feeling short of breath upon awakening
- Hard time concentrating or forgetting things
- Irritable or depressed
Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can affect anyone – young or old, male or female, children can even become victims of this condition. However, there are certain factors that put you more at risk when it comes to obstructive or central types of sleep apnea.
If you have any of the following risk factors, you are at an increased risk for developing sleep apnea:
- Over 65 years of age
- Hispanic or Black descent
- Family history of sleep apnea
There are still some additional risk factors that could be a contributing factor for sleep apnea that are more on the physical side. It could be anything from having a thicker neck, a chin that recedes, deviated septum and tonsils or adenoids that are enlarged. The tonsils and adenoids are the most frequent factor for children who have sleep apnea. It may be that your airway is blocked while you sleep because the muscles in your throat will relax more so than the typical person. Allergies and various other medical issues that create blockage and congestion are also leading causes of sleep apnea.
When it comes to central sleep apnea it is also frequently found more in men who are at least 65 years of age. However, it is normally associated with some type of serious illness, including stroke, heart disease or a spinal injury to name a few.