Signs of Sleep Apnea

Most people with sleep apnea (OSA) don’t know they have the condition. Though the frequent breathing pauses might occur hundreds of times each night, you might never wake up enough to notice. If you do notice, you might attribute the waking to other problems. 

Here are some of the signs to watch for:

Loud Snoring

Snoring occurs when your airway narrows, and sleep apnea occurs when your airway closes. Most people with OSA are also snorers. The louder your snoring, the more likely it is that you have sleep apnea. A sleep dentist can help you determine if your snoring is just noise or if it needs more serious treatment. 

Daytime Sleepiness

Sleep apnea keeps your body from reaching the restorative levels of sleep necessary to get truly restful sleep. Most people find that they wake up unrested, no matter how many hours they spend in bed at night. 

Morning Headaches Due To Sleep Apnea

Because of disrupted sleep, many wake up with headaches in the morning. The classic headache starts when you wake up, and dissipates within an hour or so of waking. However, many people experience migraines and tension headaches triggered by OSA that can go on for hours, even days. 

Dry Mouth Or Sore Throat In The Morning

You might breathe through your mouth to try to maintain airflow at night. This will dry out your mouth and throat. 

Difficulty Concentrating and Memory Problems

Your brain performs essential cognitive and memory-related tasks at night, this condition interrupts these, affecting your memory as well as your ability to think clearly. 

Irritability, Mood Swings, or Changes in Behavior

Poor rest can also affect your mood. If you’re more irritable than you used to be, have depression, or no longer find joy in the things you used to love. 

Nighttime Sweating or Other Signs Of Stress

Sleep apnea stresses your body, which you might notice in several ways. Nighttime sweating, a racing heartbeat, and other signs of stress at night could mean you have OSA. 

Frequent Nighttime Urination (nocturia)

Waking up to frequently urinate? It’s not just the sleep interruptions: the condition can give your body the impression it has excess fluids to eliminate.

adult woman awake at night and sitting on her bed with headacheDangers of Sleep Apnea

Because your entire body depends on sleep, your entire body is affected by sleep apnea. When assessing the risks, doctors often talk about “all-cause mortality:” your risk of dying from any cause. Research shows that this may increase your risk of all-cause mortality by four to six times. 

People with sleep apnea often suffer from the following:

Cardiovascular problems

People with sleep apnea often experience serious cardiovascular problems. High blood pressure is common and often can’t be controlled with medication. Irregular heart rhythms are also common along with an increased risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Left untreated, this also makes recovery from cardiovascular problems more challenging. 

Daytime impairment

Because of poor sleep, people with sleep apnea are at an increased risk for traffic accidents, including serious and deadly car accidents. They also have a higher risk for disabling and deadly workplace accidents. 

Metabolic disorders

OSA affects the way your body uses and stores energy. If you have OSA, you will find it harder to get healthy levels of exercise and are more likely to be obese, have insulin resistance, and develop type 2 diabetes. 

Degraded cognitive function

People with sleep apnea experience memory and cognition problems. Over time, these can worsen into early-onset dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. 

Mental health issues

Along with difficulty thinking, you may experience mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Untreated OSA makes these conditions less responsive to treatment. Sleep apnea contributes to elevated suicide risk. 

Decreased quality of life

In addition to the above problems, you might experience a reduced quality of life. Depression and daytime sleepiness can make it difficult to be active and enjoy life. Irritability and anxiety can lead to more conflicts with loved ones. In addition, you might experience sexual dysfunction, including a loss of sexual pleasure, taking even more joy from life. 

Get Sleep Apnea Diagnosis and Treatment in Anchorage

The above warning signs are not the same as a sleep apnea diagnosis. Only a sleep test can properly diagnose this condition. The Anchorage sleep dentists at Excellence in Dentistry can help you get a sleep test–you can likely even take it in the comfort of your own bed. Then we can help you find an appropriate and effective treatment. 

Please call (907) 349-0022 or use our online form today to request an appointment at Excellence in Dentistry in Anchorage.