Things to Know – Sleep Apnea Causes and Symptoms

Most people tend to over look the sleep apnea causes and symptoms. They don’t realize that snoring is a big issue. So far as their partners are okay with it, they feel they can as well ignore it. Here is a fact to generate some awareness regarding this understated condition, frequent snoring is a sign of the potentially dangerous sleep disorder – sleep apnea. It is a condition in which breathing stops, and this starts occurring repeatedly on frequent intervals as people sleep. Sleep apnea is a treatable condition, but is sometimes difficult to recognize. Unrecognized and untreated sleep apnea is very dangerous and detrimental to the health. It is very necessary to see a doctor the moment people suspect any signs and symptoms of sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Types

  • Central sleep apnea – This is a less common type of sleep apnea, which involves the central nervous system, rather than airway obstructions. It occurs when the brain fails to send messages or signals to the breath controlling muscles. People seldom snore in central sleep apnea.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea – This is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs as a result of the soft tissue at the back of the throat becoming relaxed during sleep, which then causes blockage in the airways (also causing snoring in turn).

Sleep Apnea Causes – Episodes, Anatomy, Signs & Symptoms

The oxygen level in the blood drops as the air flow also stops during sleep apnea episodes. At such instances, the brain responds briefly by disturbing the sleep just enough to kick-start breathing again. This often happens with gasps or choking sounds. However, people don’t usually remember these awakenings. Most of the time, people having obstructive sleep apnea stir enough to tighten the muscles at the throat, which opens the windpipe. In the case of people suffering of central sleep apnea, they may be conscious of their awakenings.

Identifying sleep apnea without the help of physicians or specialists can be a bit tough. This is because the most prominent symptoms may occur only when people sleep. But people can get around this problem by asking their partners to observe their sleep habits and record them if possible (maybe video recordings). Some major sleep apnea causes, signs and symptoms of are:

  • Chronic and loud snoring
  • Daytime sleepiness (despite having enough sleep)
  • Long pauses in breathing while sleeping
  • Gasping, choking or snorting while sleeping

Other Signs and Symptoms

Other signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include the following:

  • Sporadic or restless sleep
  • Difficulty in concentrating and frequent forgetfulness
  • Depression, irritability and mood swings
  • Frequently going to the bathroom throughout the night
  • Waking up with sore or dry mouth
  • Nighttime awakenings or insomnia
  • Morning headaches

Differentiating Between Normal Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Everyone that snores does not necessarily have sleep apnea, and it is not necessary for everyone who has sleep apnea to snore. So, how can people tell the difference between normal snoring and sleep apnea? The biggest betraying sign is how people feel during the day. Normal snoring does not interfere with the quality of sleep and does not leave people feeling extremely sleepy and fatigued in the day time.

Snore Score

There are some questions people need to ask themselves, in order to decide whether they have sleep apnea. These questions include:

  • Is the sufferer a loud or regular snorer?
  • Have they ever been observed to gasp or stop breathing while they sleep?
  • Do they feel groggy and fatigued upon waking up from a sleep?
  • Do they wake up with a headache on a regular basis?
  • Are they often tired and sleepy during wake times?
  • Do they fall asleep while watching TV, sitting, reading o driving?
  • Do they have problems remembering things and concentrating?

If people have any of these symptoms, they are facing a higher risk of having obstructive sleep apnea. If upon these symptoms people are still unsure of whether their snoring is normal or something more dangerous, the following few strategies will be helpful in deciphering the sleep apnea causes and symptoms:

  • Make a recording of themselves while sleeping – Making a video or recording of oneself while sleeping can be very helpful indeed. It will surely reveal the necessary symptoms that will help decide whether or not the condition is serious. It is always easy to use video cameras, sound-activated recorders, or install software on the computer which works as a recorder.
  • Keeping a sleep diary – People can always record the number of hours they spend in bed, the number of awakenings and whether they feel refreshed in the morning. Sleep partners can also help keep track on the snoring patterns, as well as how frequent and how loud they are. Sleep partners can also help in taking note of any unusual habits while sleeping, such as choking and gasping.

People should always be aware of whatever illness they are suffering, so as to treat it accordingly before it’s too late. In the case of people suffering of sleep apnea, more caution is advised to pinpoint sleep apnea causes and symptoms.