Have you ever woken up to your spouse or bed partner snoring? While this is a minor inconvenience during the night, snoring is actually a sign that there may be greater problems, most notably sleep apnea. This condition affects millions of people, but often goes under-diagnosed due to the fact that most symptoms occur while the person is sleeping, so they don’t even know! As common as snoring is, it is also one of the several signs that someone may be afflicted.
Why Sleep Apnea is a Big Deal Most people brush snoring off as a commonplace nuisance. However, it is a sign that the snoring person is not breathing in enough air. Sleep apnea occurs when the airway of the throat becomes blocked by the soft tissues of the mouth. This prevents oxygen from getting to the brain and other vital organs. Over time, this can cause systemic health concerns, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Identify Early Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea
- Chronic snoring As we mentioned earlier, chronic snoring is a warning sign that the airway is blocked. If you notice a loved one or friend snoring often, it is important to encourage them to be checked for sleep apnea. Often you can immediately help these chronic snorers by repositioning so they are no longer sleeping on their back.
- Daytime fatigue If someone is always complaining of feeling tired after a full nigh of rest, it may be because they kept waking up throughout the night from lack of oxygen. Those who are affected by sleep apnea often wake up throughout the night gasping for air as they are not properly breathing. Many times, the affected person never knows they actually wake up so many times.
- Irritability Most people would agree that if you do not get a good amount of sleep each night, you may be a little irritable. Friends and family who are normally always in a good mood but suddenly seem easily irritated, especially during the mornings, may not be getting good sleep at night because of sleep apnea.
- Morning headaches Chronic snoring, lack of oxygen, and frequently waking up at night are primary causes of morning headaches. Those who experience many headaches during the morning should consider being tested for sleep apnea.