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How to Know if You Have Sleep Apnea

How to Know if You Have Sleep Apnea

There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep, yet some days the morning hits with nothing like good sleep behind it, even when your alarm clock says it’s been eight hours. While everyone has the occasional off night, you might be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

OSA is a condition where your breathing stops while you sleep, causing your brain to send waking signals. Sometimes it’s just enough to re-start breathing, though you’re not awake enough to be aware. This can happen dozens of times a night. 

The long-term health effects of OSA can be serious. If you’re a loud snorer or you otherwise suspect you have a sleep disorder, visit us at Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat. Snoring and sleep apnea are two of our specialities. Not sure whether it’s worth an appointment? Here are a few ways to know if you have sleep apnea. 

Do you snore?

The fact that you snore doesn’t mean you have obstructive sleep apnea, but everyone with OSA snores. 

OSA occurs when tissue in your throat collapses during the relaxation of sleep. This can include the soft palate, tongue, and other tissue at the sides of the throat, and your general anatomy may contribute too. Snoring occurs when the passage of air becomes restricted, causing tissue to vibrate. When you have OSA, the airway becomes completely blocked, temporarily stopping your breath entirely. 

Has anyone noticed? 

If your partner mentions that you seem to stop breathing, only to start again with a sound that seems like a gasp, they may be observing OSA in action. This is the classic pattern of an OSA incident. 

Is your mouth dry? 

While there are many reasons you may wake with a dry mouth, including medications or other medical conditions, take note of a dry mouth in combination with other OSA symptoms. 

Headaches in the morning? 

Waking up with a headache might be a sign of those missed sleep cycles caused by OSA. An occasional morning headache may be nothing, but when it’s more frequent, it could be a result of sleep apnea. 

Sleepy during the day? 

Called hypersomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness could be a sign you’re not getting restful sleep at night, and, again, OSA is a prime suspect when this combines with other symptoms. Watch out also for confusion, concentration lapses, and mood changes that aren’t typical for you. 

Are you a restless sleeper? 

While there are more than 70 sleep disorders, your collection of symptoms may point toward OSA. Waking tangled up in your bedding might be a sign you’re thrashing around during sleep apnea episodes. OSA can also wake you fully, and you may then have trouble getting back to sleep. That’s called insomnia, and it’s a sleep disorder in itself as well as an OSA symptom. 

Dr. Scott Bateman and the rest of the team at Sheridan Ear, Nose & Throat specialize in snoring and sleep apnea, making us your ideal partner in the OSA battle. Call or click to schedule a consultation today. 

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