You have just finished dinner and sat down in your favorite chair to watch TV. Your family files in to watch and before you know it, someone is waking you up because you have been snoring. It’s common enough, you had a hard day; but how often does it really happen? You have likely heard of sleep apnea, but you are not really sure what all is entailed; after all you just snore occasionally.
When most people think of sleep apnea they think of snoring. Snoring is one of the main symptoms of sleep apnea but there are many more to discuss. Some of the symptoms are far subtler, but combine a few of them and you are likely to have sleep apnea. Eighty percent of the 22 million sufferers are undiagnosed.
The Sleep Apnea Symptoms Are:
- Intense snoring
- Pauses in breathing throughout a nights sleep
- Daytime sleepiness and excessive fatigue
- Neck circumference of greater than 17 inches (male) 16 inches (female)
- High blood pressure
- Poor concentration
- Family history
Lets go through them with some detail.
When someone has sleep apnea the main cause is that the tongue collapses back against the walls of the pharynx and the limited passage air causes the snoring.
Pauses in breathing throughout a nights sleep
When the tongue collapses against the pharynx the lack of oxygen in your lungs will wake you up gasping for air before falling asleep again. Pauses in breathing can be just a few seconds to minutes, and occur as little as five to as many as 30 times per hour.
Daytime sleepiness and excessive fatigue
The pauses in breathing are constantly waking you up, never letting you get fully rested. This leaves you excessively fatigued and tired for much the day.
Neck circumference of greater than 17 inches (male) 16 inches (female)
Having a larger neck can be an indicator for sleep apnea because the more fat or muscle tissue you have the narrower the pharynx is.
Obesity allows for fat to build up in the walls of the pharynx.
High blood pressure
Lack of oxygen in the lungs equals lack of oxygen in the blood stream causing your blood pressure to rise.
Continuous lack of sleep causes you to have poor concentration and an inability to stay focused.
Lack of oxygen to the brain causes headaches especially in the morning when it is most deprived.
Sleep apnea like many medical conditions follows a family pattern.
If you have a few the symptoms of sleep apnea, it is time to talk to your physician about the likelihood of you having the condition. There are several quick office tests that can be administered to determine if you should have a sleep study.
A sleep study is the most accurate way of diagnosing someone with a sleep disorder. Many sleep studies can be done in the comfort of your own home.
If you suspect you might have sleep apnea, been diagnosed or would like to find out how you can avoid the high risk of developing other conditions, contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 to schedule a consultation.