Signs You May Have Sleep Apnea

By Dr. Andrew Parker
April 04, 2016
Category: Snoring
Tags: Sleep Apnea  

Sleep apnea doesn't just affect the quality of your sleep. It can also cause a variety of health problems, ranging from sleep apneaheadaches to high blood pressure. Dr. Andrew Parker, your Norwalk, New Canaan and Westport, CT ear, nose and throat doctor, describes the signs that could indicate that you have sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea starts with snoring

Snoring is often an indication that you have sleep apnea, but everyone who snores doesn't have the disorder. Ninety million American adults snore, but only 1/2 of people who snore loudly have sleep apnea, according to theNational Sleep Foundation. Since you're asleep when snoring occurs, you may not even be aware that you have a problem, but chances are, other people have mentioned it.

Other signs of sleep apnea

If you have sleep apnea, you may have a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Choking: Have you even woken up suddenly and felt as if you were choking or gasping for air? These symptoms occur when your throat closes down and prevents air from reaching your lungs. When you sleep, your throat muscles and tongue relax, narrowing your airway. Occasionally, your airway walls may collapse completely, which triggers choking or gasping for air.
  • Breathing Pauses: If you sleep with someone else, they may have mentioned that your breathing seems to stop for a few seconds from time to time. When you experience choking or breathing pauses, your brain is temporarily deprived of oxygen. Over time, oxygen deprivation can cause several serious health problems.
  • Dry Mouth: After a busy night of snoring, your mouth will be dry, and your throat may be sore.
  • Headaches: Sleep apnea affects the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your bloodstream, which can cause morning headaches. These headaches usually go away within an hour after you wake up.
  • Sleepiness: Not surprisingly, you may have difficulty staying awake during the day if you have sleep apnea.
  • Mood And Concentration Problems: When you don't get a good night's sleep, your memory and ability to concentrate suffers. You may also feel irritable, moody or depressed.

Who is more likely to develop sleep apnea?

Your Norwalk, New Canaan and Westport ENT can let you know, you might be at an increased risk of developing sleep apnea if you have any of these risk factors:

  • Male
  • Smoker
  • Overweight
  • A family history of sleep apnea
  • High blood pressure
  • Large neck size
  • Over 40 (male) or 50 (women)

Concerned that you may have sleep apnea? Dr. Andrew Parker, your Norwalk, New Canaan and Westport, CT ear, nose and throat doctor, can help. Call him at (203) 866-8121 to schedule an appointment. Don't let a sleep disorder affect your health.