One of the most common sleep disorders afflicting adults in the U.S. is sleep apnea. The most common form, obstructive sleep apnea, occurs when a blockage in the upper airways interrupts a person's sleep. When this happens, the blockage causes frequent pauses in breathing during the night. As you can imagine, this obstructed breathing can cause many major health problems in an individual. It is an especially insidious disorder because it can often go undiagnosed and can result in significant loss of sleep. If you think you may have a sleep disorder, make sure to go to your doctor to find a diagnosis. If you're curious about the different signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, here are some of the most common.
One of the most obvious and tell-tale signs of sleep apnea is the occurrence of frequent pauses in your breathing during sleep. This happens because the soft tissue in your throat or tongue relaxes and blocks your air passages. Your body wakes up just enough to keep you breathing, but chances are that you aren't aware that you're waking up dozens of times per night. Another possible sign of obstructive sleep apnea is loud snoring that happens often and is disruptive. You may need to rely on a partner to tell you whether you are snoring or taking frequent pauses in your breathing. Keep in mind that not all snorers have sleep apnea.
Other symptoms of sleep apnea can include general symptoms of sleep deprivation. Obstructive sleep apnea causes your body to wake itself up dozens of times per night in order to keep breathing. The effects of these interruptions to your sleep cycle can build up very quickly to become severe health problems. One of the most common symptoms that you may notice is excessive daytime sleepiness. You may think that you regularly get the right amount of sleep, yet constantly wake up with a feeling of drowsiness that lasts throughout the day. Morning headaches due to restricted oxygen flow to your brain are also common symptoms for sleep apnea sufferers. Make sure to consult your physician if you are concerned that you have sleep apnea or any other sleep disorder.
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