Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that is characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep. This can happen many times throughout the night, leading to sleep deprivation, daytime sleepiness, and other health issues. While sleep apnea is often undiagnosed, there are some clear signs and symptoms you can look out for that may indicate you have sleep apnea.
Loud or excessive snoring is one of the clearest indicators that you may have obstructive sleep apnea. The snoring sound is caused by your air passages collapsing as you sleep, obstructing the flow of air and vibrating the tissues in your throat. You may already know you snore because sleeping partners or members of your household tell you that you do.
2. Pauses in Breathing
Another sign of sleep apnea is having pauses in your breathing during sleep. This can be brief (lasting seconds) or longer (up to a minute). During these moments, your body is struggling to take a breath but cannot because of the obstruction of the airways. These pauses can lead to decreased oxygen levels in the blood and reduced sleep quality.
3. Daytime Sleepiness
People with sleep apnea often experience extreme fatigue and sleepiness during the day due to sleep deprivation, which can have a negative impact on their performance at work or school. If you find yourself nodding off frequently throughout the day, consider visiting your doctor for a screening for obstructive sleep apnea.
If you suspect that you or someone you know has sleep apnea, it is important to seek professional medical advice from your doctor. Treatment for sleep apnea can include lifestyle changes, including losing weight, avoiding alcohol at bedtime or using breathing devices, such as CPAP machines. Whatever the solution, it is critical that you treat sleep apnea in order to improve your quality of sleep and reduce risks for health issues.