Sleep apnea is a life-threatening condition that can cause serious problems for your overall health if left untreated. Unfortunately, getting a diagnosis can be difficult, as many people don't realize that their various symptoms are related to sleep apnea. If you or your loved ones are experiencing any of these symptoms, sleep apnea could be to blame.
One of the most common issues with sleep apnea is exhaustion during the daytime when you're trying to stay awake. You may feel like you're not well-rested, you're physically weak, or mentally have trouble focusing. This is all simply because your rest hasn't been deep or restful enough to allow your body and brain to fully relax and rejuvenate at night.
If you feel exhausted during the day no matter how much sleep you get, sleep apnea could be to blame.
This is a symptom that other people will notice more easily than you, so ask anyone you live with. If you have gasping breaths during your sleep, that's a very strong sign that you could have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea causes the airway to partially or fully collapse, causing a sleeping person to stop breathing. When this happens, the body eventually fights back and you emit a forceful, deep gasping breath that forces the airway open. After a few seconds, however, most people go back to breathing shallowly.
This symptom may also be coupled with extremely loud snoring. When the airway is partially closed, any air that travels through it makes the walls of the airway shake, resulting in a snore. However, snoring on its own doesn't necessarily mean that you have sleep apnea.
If you remember waking up gasping or if someone else has told you that you do this, then you should definitely be screened for sleep apnea.
Lastly, if you've been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, it's possible that sleep apnea is behind it.
Sleep apnea has been shown to raise blood pressure and to cause cardiovascular damage due to a lack of oxygen. While there are many other potential triggers for cardiovascular disease like a bad diet or being overweight, if you're experiencing one or more of the symptoms above and have cardiovascular disease, it's worth finding out if you have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea can be extremely dangerous, so don't be afraid to ask your doctor about it. Thankfully, treatment for sleep apnea is easier than ever, courtesy of new dental devices that allow you to sleep with your airway held comfortably open. If you have sleep apnea or know someone who does, talk to your dentist to find out more about how they can help. You can also contact clinics like Millennium Smiles for more information.