You wake up from what you assumed was an 8-hour sleep, but you’re still tired. The day drags on like a turtle dipped in molasses trying to win a leg race. You can’t focus. Your vision blurs as your eyes get heavy. The clock ticks, but time stands still. You want to get home so you can fall flat on your face and pass out in a deep slumber. If this sounds familiar, you might have sleep apnea – a deadly sleep disorder that affects a person’s health much more than one might expect. Knowing the warning signs of sleep apnea is important for your health so you can receive treatment quickly and ensure your body gets the sleep it so urgently needs.
First, let’s look at the dangers of sleep apnea:
Dangers of Sleep Apnea
- Fatigue and tiredness, which can lead to accidents at work, at home, or in the car
- Heart disease
- High-blood pressure
- Weight gain and difficult losing weight
So now that we’ve proven that sleep apnea is an extreme danger to your health, it’s time to look at the warning signs and symptoms that you or a loved one has the detrimental sleep disorder.
Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea
These don’t necessarily mean that you do have sleep apnea, so please don’t use this as a means to diagnose yourself or someone else. Use this as a means to go and get tested with an ENT doctor.
Warning Sign #1: Snoring
It might be you. It might be your spouse. Either way, loud snoring is a sign of sleep apnea (although snoring isn’t always a sign of a sleep disorder). Snoring is something commonly laughed at or ignored, but don’t let it go for too long. One sure sign you’re not getting enough sleep due to snoring is that it wakes you up in the middle of the night. If that’s not enough, it might be waking up your loved ones. Do it for them.
Warning Sign #2: Coughing and choking at night
Another sign is that you’re waking up in the middle of the night with a choking sensation. Because sleep apnea correlates with the soft tissues at the back of the throat and how much air it’s allowing as you breathe, this is a common sign you’ve got the apnea.
Warning Sign #3: Irritability
Admit it: when you don’t get enough sleep you can be a cranky pants. That’s all of us. But imagine someone who never gets enough sleep; someone who keeps waking up every night. That would make us all agitated and easily irritated at every little thing. This also correlates with an inability to focus, which just frustrates the situation more.
Warning Sign #4: Stop breathing at night
Now you won’t notice this one but your spouse might. If they say you stop breathing in the middle of the night, that’s a sure sign you’ve got sleep apnea which is generally defined by how many times someone stops breathing per hour of sleep. Imagine the kind of pressure that points on the body.
Warning Sign #5: Sleepiness
Daytime sleepiness is fairly common for most, but on a daily basis could be a sign of a major sleep disorder. If you’re always looking forward to the next nap, it’s probably time to get looked at. Not only will you struggle at work, but the simple act of driving could be dangerous.
Can you cure sleep apnea?
There is a solution to sleep apnea, but it starts with a sleep study – a non-invasive means of figuring out if you have sleep apnea. Most of the time, sleep studies are done in-office with a bunch of tubes and wires stuck to you, but at The Ear, Nose and Throat Institute we offer at-home sleep studies that are less overwhelming. After a sleep study, if sleep apnea is present, treatment options will be discussed that might include a CPAP machine or even the new sleep disorder treatment device called Inspire. Watch these videos below to learn more:
To schedule a same-day appointment, call 770-740-1860 or fill out the form at the top. To learn more about Inspire, fill out the form to the right.
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