If you think that you or a member of your family may have sleep apnea, it can be helpful for you to know the symptoms of this condition. You will then be better prepared to seek an evaluation and treatment from your doctor.
There are actually two different forms of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused by an obstruction of the airways by the throat muscles, is the most common. Fewer people experience central sleep apnea, which occurs when the brain does not regulate one’s breathing correctly. Both forms of sleep apnea generally include similar symptoms. Only your doctor can determine which form of sleep apnea you have, and how to treat it effectively.
For most people, the most noticeable symptom of sleep apnea is snoring. The person who has sleep apnea often snores loudly enough to affect others in his household. In many cases he can even be awakened by his own snoring. While loud, excessive snoring can often be attributed to other causes, the person who is experiencing it consistently should be checked by his doctor.
When a person has sleep apnea, his snoring is usually accompanied by periodic stoppages of breathing. Although each individual person differs, this can be followed by the appearance of gasping for breath, or by silence. This can be quite scary to the person who witnesses it.
The person who has sleep apnea experiences disturbance in his sleep patterns. He may experience insomnia at night, as well as extreme drowsiness during the daytime. These factors alone can interfere with his quality of everyday life. He may be sleepy much of the time, and even fall asleep during the daytime when he does not wish to do so.
Sleep apnea can increase the risk of even more serious health problems. It can also increase the risk of accidents due to lack of proper sleep. There are a number of different treatments for sleep apnea, which depend upon the severity of the condition. In minor cases, some lifestyle changes and changes in one’s sleeping habits may be all that is needed to relieve the problem.
In some cases, a treatment which is known as CPAP can be useful. This involves the use of a special mask while sleeping, to keep the airways functioning properly. In other instances, surgery may be recommended. Surgery is usually only needed for the treatment of sleep apnea if the symptoms are due to tissue causing the obstruction.
While people often think of sleep apnea as a condition which affects older persons, children can also have this condition. In addition to symptoms similar to sleep apnea in adults, children may be prone t mouth breathing, and my fail to gain weight properly. In many instances of childhood sleep apnea, removing the child’s adenoids and tonsils can relieve the problem.
Snoring and waking during sleep can be much more than just annoying. It could be the signal that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. If your physician determines that you have sleep apnea, he can recommend the right treatment for you.