Sleep apnea is a fairly common problem in both men and women. It more often affects smokers, drinkers and allergy sufferers and people who are older or overweight, but anyone can fall victim to it. Some evidence today even supports a genetic connection. Like many other disorders, it exists on a spectrum from mild to severe. It can bring on a host of serious complications, and it can progressively worsen as time goes on. Consequently, treatment should be initiated as soon as possible. Read on for the top three signs that you may be suffering from sleep apnea.
Snoring is the most common symptom associated with sleep apnea. In most cases, sleep apnea sufferers’ snoring is consistent and loud throughout the night. Often, during breaks in the snores, breathing can stop. In these cases, dentists recommend refraining from sleeping on your back. Your spouse may also suffer as a result of your apnea-related snoring, if he or she is unable to sleep due to the volume or concern that you’ll stop breathing.
Another common indication is pervasive sleepiness. This can occur throughout the day, whether you are active or inactive at the time. The sleepiness is thought to be caused by the interrupted breathing during the sleep cycle and the resulting lack of oxygen. In extreme cases, this can be confused with narcolepsy, because it can befall the patient in the middle of activities. As a result, sufferers are at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel and may even lose their job if performance slips enough.
In addition to snoring and sleepiness, a whole host of cognitive symptoms can signal the presence of sleep apnea. These can include memory issues, mood swings and learning difficulties. Depression is also possible with this condition, though not as common. Unfortunately, these symptoms can exist in conjunction with other disorders or on their own, so you may not immediately link them to a sleep problem. One strong indicator that they are related is the presence of headaches in conjunction with cognitive disruptions.
For mild to moderate cases, surgical solutions can be most helpful, but in more severe cases, it’s one of the only options. These procedures are designed to adjust jaw placement, which allows for a clearer, more effective airway during sleep. While dental devices can help with mild cases, the problem usually worsens over time. It is critical to seek help from a dentist or oral surgeon who is trained in this type of treatment, as over-the-counter solutions are rarely effective.
If you suspect you may suffer from a sleep disorder of this nature, don’t delay in seeking a medical opinion and treatment. Contact OMS of Utah today to schedule your sleep apnea consultation.