Do you think you might have sleep apnea? The signs and symptoms of sleep apnea in Owen’s Cross Roads, AL can be very present for some, yet others may have no idea they have it. Dr. Elizabeth Duling treats sleep apnea at her dentist office.
We highlight some of the signs that are present in people that have sleep apnea, and the risk factors as well. Even if you don’t know you have sleep apnea, you may have some previously existing risk factors that make you more likely to develop it. Sleep apnea is a serious concern and needs to be treated to preserve your quality of life.
Do I Have Sleep Apnea?
There are many different signs that indicate that you might have sleep apnea. The most prominent one is snoring. While not all snoring means sleep apnea, it’s a good indicator that you might have it. This is especially true if your snoring is very loud. It may wake up your partner or other people in the household.
You may also make snorting, choking, or gasping sounds while you’re sleeping. Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue in your throat collapses and blocks your airway. These sounds are your body’s way of saying it isn’t getting enough oxygen and it’s trying to unblock your airway for proper airflow again. A sore throat or dry mouth is common because of mouth breathing and gasping.
These occurrences make you wake up multiple times throughout the night, even if you don’t remember it. You may feel tired, even though you thought you got a full night’s sleep. You’re more likely to be irritable, need caffeine to get through the day, or fall asleep while driving. Even if you don’t realize it, your body isn’t getting the rest it needs.
Sleep apnea has some more serious indicators as well. An irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and unexplained weight gain are all issues that are connected to sleep apnea. Though it’s not yet completely understood why it happens, frequent headaches when you wake up are connected as well.
Why Am I Snoring at Night?
While not all cases of snoring mean sleep apnea, it’s most likely a sign that there’s a deeper issue. Certain types of people and those with certain lifestyle habits are more likely to develop sleep apnea than others. The following things make snoring more likely:
You’re getting older: As we age, we lose muscle tone – and this extends to the muscles in your mouth and throat as well. Your tongue and throat muscles lose muscle definition. Even though sleeping is something simple, your body has more trouble performing this function.
You’re overweight: When you’re overweight, you’ll have more fatty tissue in your body. Combined with poor muscle tone, this makes it difficult for your airway to stay open during sleep. With a larger bulk of tissue blocking the airway, your body struggles more, and your snoring is louder and more violent.
You have some bad habits: The more smoking and drinking you do, the more likely you are to be a snorer. Smoking leads to inflammation and irritation in your nasal passages and throat muscles, which disrupts the airflow. Drinking alcohol before bed is a big culprit when it comes to snoring. Alcohol helps to relax muscles more, making them more likely to block your airway.
You sleep on your back: Most of us have a go-to sleep position that we feel the most comfortable in. But when you sleep on your back, it’s easier for your soft tissue to fall back and block your airway. If you’re sleeping on one of your sides, you’re less likely to experience this.
You’re a man: Men are more likely to suffer from snoring and sleep apnea than women. Hereditary factors can also contribute to making you more likely to have these problems.
You have certain anatomy or nasal conditions: If you have a narrow airway, it’s more likely to be able to be blocked. A large soft palate or large tonsils can also make you more likely to snore. A deviated septum and chronic congestion increase your chances of snoring as well.
Schedule an Appointment
Do these signs and symptoms sound familiar? Reach out to get treatment for your sleep apnea. Call our office or schedule an appointment with Dr. Duling online.