Recognizing Common Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Sleep apnea is a common condition, but because many people are unaware of the symptoms, it often goes undiagnosed. As a result, hundreds of people struggle with chronic exhaustion, loud snoring, constant headaches, and numerous other side effects. Dr. Melina Morrison can identify your sleep apnea symptoms at her Forney, TX dental practice and provide you with an effective treatment plan based on those symptoms. She can also identify whether you are at high risk for sleep apnea. Contact our office to schedule an evaluation and learn more about this condition.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that causes your airways to become blocked during the night. Often this occurs when your soft palate and throat start to relax. Becoming too slack, they can block the flow of air through your throat. In other cases, your tongue could fall back into your throat, impeding normal breath. In either case, sleep apnea can cause you to wake up dozens or even hundreds of times every night. Because these interruptions to your sleep can last fractions of a second, you may not be aware that they are occurring. However short, they can still prevent you from reaching the deep stages of sleep that your body needs.
Snoring: A Common Symptom of Sleep Apnea
Snoring can be a telltale sign of obstructive sleep apnea. As air squeezes through your partially blocked airways, it can cause very loud snoring. You may also wake up with a sharp gasp when breathing stops. While snoring may not bother you, it can be very disruptive to others. In fact, many people only receive a sleep apnea diagnosis because someone else has complained about the noise at night. It is important to note that snoring is not always a sign of OSA, but it can help Dr. Morrison diagnose your condition.
Other Signs That You May Have Sleep Apnea
Although you may not be aware of your own snoring, OSA causes many other symptoms that may be more noticeable to you. Common signs of sleep apnea include:
- Morning headaches
- Chronic exhaustion
- Sore throat or dry mouth, especially in the morning
- Irritability and mood swings
- Forgetfulness or difficulty with critical thinking
- Daytime sleepiness
- Frequent urges to go to the bathroom (a result of diminished oxygen to your organs)
- High blood pressure
- Low testosterone
Some hormones, including the eating suppression hormone, are only released during deeper REM sleep. Therefore, overeating or constant cravings for fatty foods can also be symptoms of sleep apnea.
Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
Men and women of any age can suffer from OSA. However, you are at a higher risk for the condition if:
- You are male
- You have high blood pressure
- You have been diagnosed with diabetes
- You are obese (fatty tissues can clog up your airway, making it smaller)
- You have ADD
- You smoke
- You have a family history of OSA
- You suffer from chronic teeth grinding and clinching
If any of these risk factors apply to you, or if you present with the symptoms of sleep apnea, Dr. Morrison will carefully diagnose your condition. First, she will examine your throat to look for signs of a blockage. She can also use a questionnaire to determine whether you are at risk for OSA. Then she can determine the most appropriate sleep apnea treatment in your particular case.
Treat Your Sleep Apnea Symptoms
There is no reason to suffer the significant side effects of sleep apnea. Contact Forney Family Dentistry to schedule an evaluation and to learn how we can improve your overall health.