Do you find yourself waking up in the morning with a headache, or feeling as if you barely slept if at all? Has your partner woken you up several times every night simply to ask you to stop snoring – worse has he or she moved to the next room?
If the answer is yes, there’s a big chance that you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a condition where a sufferer’s upper passages close off, interrupting your breathing and depriving you of oxygen until you wake up and start breathing again. OSA affects children and adult alike.
The best way to know if you have sleep apnea is to have a sleep study, which your doctor can supervise for you. If you live in Victoria, you may consult CPAP Victoria centres near you and have your sleeping condition assessed.
Signs of sleep apnea: Sleepiness, snoring, gasping for air
The three most common warning signs of obstructive sleep apnea are:
- Persistent and loud snoring that may or may not wake up the person.
- Breathing pauses, which is commonly accompanied with gasping episodes when sleeping.
- Excessive and incapacitating sleepiness during waking hours.
However, not everyone who snores needs to visit a specialist. Many people who snore doesn’t actually have sleep apnea, but most people who have sleep apnea snore. Here’s the deal – if you have chronic snoring that is loud enough to wake your partner, or if you’re really worried about the quality of your sleep, talk to your doctor.
People with apnea often wake up for a few seconds to gasp for air. This can happen even hundreds of times a night, particularly for people with severe sleep apnea. If someone sees you waking up repeatedly when you sleep, it’s suggestive of obstructive sleep apnea.
If you don’t share your bed (or room) with anyone, then the only signs of sleep apnea you may notice are either morning headaches or extreme sleepiness during the day. Also, people with sleep apnea are likely to doze off in the middle of any activity – even while driving, which is very, very dangerous.
Another reason to suspect that you have chronic sleep apnea is if you wake up with a very dry mouth and gummy front teeth. People with sleep apnea tend to sleep with their mouths open because it’s very hard for them to gasp through the nose.
A less common symptom for OSA is waking up frequently with a frantic need to urinate. When a person’s normal breathing is disrupted, it puts pressure on the heart, in turn affecting a hormone that controls urine production in the kidney. This occurs to people with chronic sleep apnea.
Some other symptoms, like lower pain threshold, mood swings, depression, irritability, or problems with concentrating can also happen.
chronic sleep apnea
The most common treatment for chronic sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This device consists of a mask that is worn over the nose and/or mouth and a machine that delivers continuous air flow, which keeps airways open for regular breathing. Remember to consult CPAP Victoria centres or the nearest clinic near you to have your sleeping condition thoroughly assessed and treated.