Monthly Archives: June 2012

5 Signs You Might Have Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is an abnormality that causes a person to stop breathing for short periods of time while sleeping. The lack of breathing can last from 10 to 30 seconds, and it can occur many times in a single night. The majority of people who suffer from the condition are not aware they have it. The five telltale signs of sleep apnea are outlined below.

 Sudden Awakening

Waking up suddenly to breathe is the sign of sleep apnea that many people disregard. It manifests as being awakened by the feeling that the lungs are not getting enough air, causing a large intake of breath or a gasp. The sleeper may not be able to tell if the lack of oxygen was real or a part of a dream, which is why it may not be taken seriously.  If this situation happens often, it is crucial to seek the help of a doctor as soon as possible.

Feeling Tired Upon Awakening

Waking up feeling tired is another sign that someone may be suffering from sleep apnea.  The condition causes the blood oxygen level to drop, which leads the brain to work less efficiently. Insufficient oxygen also hinders the body’s cells from being able to get rid of carbon dioxide waste.

 Loud Snoring

While snoring in itself is not always sign of apnea, it can indicate an interference with normal breathing during sleep, which can lead to apnea. Anyone who is frequently told they snore loudly should pay a visit to the doctor for an evaluation.

 Daytime Sleepiness

Sleep apnea decreases the body’s ability to take in oxygen and push out carbon dioxide. This can cause brain cells to decay, which leads to lack of focus and mental concentration. It can also cause a person to fall asleep while working or driving and possibly harm other people in the process.

 Waking Up in a Sweat

When the body is suffering an imbalance between oxygen and carbon dioxide, it is forced to work harder than it should, which may result in excessive sweating. While there are other reasons for nighttime sweating, this sign should not be ignored.

Two of the most common treatments for sleep apnea are continuous positive airway pressure and oral appliances. A CPAP is a mask worn over the nose that delivers a constant flow of oxygen to the sleeper. This method keeps the airway open, preventing snoring and other breathing problems from taking place.

An oral appliance is a specially fitted device that works at promoting proper breathing during sleep. An appliance is more comfortable than a CPAP mask, but it is intended for milder forms of sleep apnea and may not work for someone with a severe form of the condition.

In extreme cases, apnea may have to be treated by surgery to remove tissue that blocks airways and contributes to snoring. Click here for more information on cpap equipment and supplies from Respshop.