How do I know if I have sleep apnea?
Sometimes, you may not even realize you have it. The best people to ask would be the ones that you live with, whether it's a significant other or a family member. Here are some symptoms to recognize if you're suffering from sleep apnea:
- Loud, frequent snoring
- Gasping for breath in your sleep, or waking yourself up for air
- Tiredness and fatigue throughout the day
- Headaches and dry mouth when you wake up
- Restlessness throughout the night, waking up at odd times
What causes the airway to close when I sleep?
When you sleep, the muscles that keep your airway open alongside the tongue start to relax, which causes the airway to narrow. While this normally doesn't always cause obstructive sleep apnea, there can be excessive tissue or fat that's surrounding the airway, restricting airflow when you sleep. Whatever air gets by ends up resulting in the snoring sounds that we're all familiar with.
What are some consequences if I do not treat sleep apnea?
Besides the inconveniences and annoyances mentioned above, there can be serious side effects to not treating sleep apnea.
- High blood pressure
- Fatigue-related accidents at work or while operating a vehicle