If you've been diagnosed with sleep apnea or have been researching symptoms and think you may suffer from this disorder, you might be feeling troubled.The prospect of sleep apnea can be scary-- after all, it means your breathing repeatedly stops and starts while you sleep. Following are five of the most dangerous and most noticeable symptoms of the sleep disorder.
Loud and/or chronic snoring
Everyone snores a little on occasion. But when snoring is unusually loud or occurs every night, it can be troublesome. While sleep apnea is not the only cause for loud snoring, it is most often the first sign that someone has sleep apnea. If you notice this sign in yourself or a partner, it is worth investigating and consulting your doctor.
Choking or pauses in breathing during sleep
Among the most troublesome effects of sleep apnea is choking or pauses in breathing during sleep. For someone with severe sleep apnea, these breaks can happen hundreds of times a night and may result in a lack of airflow for 10 to 20 seconds at a time (or more). In general, the lack of air jolts the sufferer awake and interrupts sleep rhythm. But more severely, the body isn't getting enough oxygen and can be more prone to other illnesses.
Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
When your sleep is interrupted hundreds of times a night, though you may not realize it -- you will wake up the next morning facing severe daytime sleepiness and fatigue as a result. In addition, not getting enough quality sleep can affect your mood. Fending this off with caffeine and sugar can only cause you to crash later, and constant exhaustion can be detrimental to your health.
High blood pressure
Sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that are caused when you stop breathing while sleeping put a strain on your heart. One of the effects of this is high blood pressure or hypertension. Untreated high blood pressure can be a risk factor for a heart attack, stroke, and other dangerous occurrences. Many people find that treating sleep apnea causes an immediate improvement in blood pressure numbers.
When sleep is constantly disturbed, you may discover it is more challenging to get your mind settled down and fall asleep. If you do have insomnia and sleep apnea, it is vital that you get your doctor involved and treat the situation responsibly.