Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of people around the world. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea and is characterized by the repetitive partial or complete obstruction of the upper airway during sleep. This obstruction causes the individual to experience pauses in breathing, resulting in drops in oxygen levels in the blood and disrupted sleep. OSA can have serious health consequences if left untreated, and there are millions of folks walking around with untreated sleep apnea in this country because they have no idea they have it!
The most common signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:
Loud, chronic snoring: Snoring is often one of the first signs of OSA. Snoring occurs due to the partial obstruction of the airway, which causes the tissues in the throat to vibrate.
Pauses in breathing during sleep: Individuals with OSA may experience pauses in breathing during sleep that can last for several seconds or even a minute.
Gasping or choking during sleep
Daytime sleepiness: OSA often results in poor sleep quality, leading to excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
Morning headaches: Morning headaches are a common symptom of OSA due to the decreased oxygen levels during sleep.
Restless sleep: People with OSA may toss and turn during sleep, experiencing frequent awakenings.
Dry mouth or sore throat upon awakening: OSA can cause mouth-breathing
Mood changes: OSA can lead to mood changes such as irritability, depression, and anxiety.
If you meet some of these criteria, it might be a good idea to discuss sleep apnea testing with your doctor. There are lots of options for diagnosis and treatment out there.
Cheers to health!