Does your partner’s loud snoring wake you up at night? If your partner frequently gasps for air and has abnormal breathing patterns, then you may have reason to be concerned. It’s likely your partner has sleep apnea, which is a serious sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts. The main symptom of sleep apnea is loud snoring, so if your partner lets out an audible snore and is tired after a full night’s rest, they might have sleep apnea.
According to the Alaska Sleep Education Center, more than 20 million adults suffer from sleep apnea in the United States. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to multiple health problems, such as excessive daytime sleepiness, restless sleep, morning headaches, depression, cardiovascular issues, and several more. Unfortunately, many people who live with sleep apnea aren’t aware of their abnormal sleeping habits, so they don’t know what’s causing their health problems. Bring this problem to your partner’s attention so they can schedule a doctor’s appointment. Keep reading to learn more about sleep apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Here are the main symptoms of sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Not being able to breathe consistently during sleep
- Awakening with a dry mouth
- Morning headache
- Difficulty staying asleep (Insomnia)
- Trouble paying attention
The two main types of sleep apnea are obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea, and it occurs when the throat muscles relax. When your throat muscles relax, your airway closes as you breathe in, which results in low oxygen levels in your blood. The brain senses your inability to breathe and briefly wakes you up during sleep to force you to reopen your airway. You might snort, choke, or grasp, and this pattern can repeat itself up to 30 times in one hour. You won’t be able to reach the deep, restful phases of sleep.
The following factors increase the risk of obstructive sleep apnea:
- Excess weight: Being overweight significantly increases the risk of OSA. Fat deposits around your airway can obstruct your breathing.
- Being male: Men are three times more likely to experience OSA than women.
- Family history: Having family members who have OSA increases your risk of experiencing it.
- Smokers: Smokers are more likely to experience OSA because smoking increases the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway.
Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing, which means you involuntarily make no effort to breathe for short periods. This type of sleep apnea is less common than OSA. Risk factors of central sleep apnea include:
- Aging: The elderly are at higher risk of experiencing central sleep apnea.
- Heart disorders: Having congestive heart failure increases the risk of central sleep apnea.
- Stroke: Being prone to recurrent strokes increases your chances of this type of sleep apnea.
If your partner was diagnosed with sleep apnea, they’re at risk of destroying their teeth due to constant teeth grinding. Grinding causes tooth wear and breakage, so your partner should consult with an orthodontist before they unknowingly ruin their teeth. Schedule an appointment for your partner with Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah today.