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What Are The Signs Of Sleep Apnea

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How To Spot Sleep Apnea Symptoms In Women

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea | How do you know if you have Sleep Apnea | theSITREP

    Are you having trouble sleeping? It may be more than just restlessness. Sleep apnea is a growing health issue, causing excessive daytime sleepiness and other symptoms that can prove deadly. This condition is usually considered a disorder that affects mostly men, but that couldnt be further from the truth.

    Signs & Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea

    Obstructive and central sleep apnea have common symptoms, so it is difficult to determine which type you have without the help of a healthcare professional. The most common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea are:

    • Loud snoring every night
    • Pauses in breathing or episodes in which you gasp for air. Both signs can be witnesses by your partner.
    • Difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep
    • Daytime fatigue, drowsiness, irritability, and difficulty in concentrating. These problems are caused by the fact that you do not get enough normal, deep sleep.
    • Depression, which is also caused by the constant fatigue.

    Loud snoring is the most common symptom of a person who has sleep apnea, and the easiest to get noticed. However, not all people who snore have sleep apnea and vice versa. You may have sleep apnea without snoring. We recommend you taking the problem seriously if you have even just one symptom. If you feel the whole day tired and sleepy, this is a crucial sign that you do not sleep well.

    What Are The Causes Of Sleep Apnea

    Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a persons airway becomes blocked during sleep. Multiple factors have been found to increase the risk of blockage and OSA:

    • Anatomical characteristics. The size and positioning of a persons neck, jaw, tongue, tonsils, and other tissue near the back of the throat can directly affect airflow.
    • Obesity. Being overweight is a leading cause of OSA and may be an underlying risk factor in up to 60% of cases. Obesity contributes to anatomical narrowing of the airway, and research has found that a 10% increase in weight can equate to a six-fold increase in OSA risk.

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    • Sleeping on your back. This sleeping position makes it easier for tissue to collapse around the airway and cause blockages.
    • Nasal congestion. People whose ability to breathe through the nose is reduced because of congestion are more likely to experience OSA.
    • Hormone abnormalities. Hormone conditions like hypothyroidism and acromegaly may increase the risk of OSA by causing swelling of tissue near the airway and/or contributing to a persons risk of obesity.

    In CSA, breathing is affected in a different way than in OSA. Instead of an obstruction causing breathing lapses, the problem arises in how the brain communicates with the muscles responsible for respiration. In particular, the brain stem fails to adequately perceive the levels of carbon dioxide in the body, leading to breathing that is slower and shallower than it should be.

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    Who Gets Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea occurs in about 25% of men and nearly 10% of women. Sleep apnea can affect people of all ages, including babies and children and particularly people over the age of 50 and those who are overweight.

    Certain physical traits and clinical features are common in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. These include excessive weight, large neck and structural abnormalities reducing the diameter of the upper airway, such as nasal obstruction, a low-hanging soft palate, enlarged tonsils or a small jaw with an overbite.

    How Common Is Sleep Apnea

    Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)  American Sleep Association

    Obstructive sleep apnea is estimated to affect between 2-9% of adults in the United States, but many cases are believed to go undiagnosed, which fits with studies that have found considerably higher rates of OSA. Precise prevalence is hard to determine because studies have used different criteria for diagnosing the condition. A consistent finding, though, is that OSA affects men more than women. It can occur in people of any age but is more common in older adults.

    Central sleep apnea has been found to affect around .9% of adults over the age of 40. It is found much more frequently in men than in women.

    As this data demonstrates, OSA is much more common than CSA. For this reason, when people talk about sleep apnea, they are generally referring to OSA.

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    How Obstructive Sleep Apnea Is Diagnosed

    If you or a loved one suspect that you may have sleep apnea, your doctor will want to know about your sleep and health habits. They will ask about how much sleep you get, how long it takes to fall asleep and whether you sleepwalk or talk while asleep. Your medications will be reviewed for their effects on sleep. They may also ask about your family history, because sleep apnea runs in families. During a physical examination, they will look for anything making your upper airway narrower, such as enlarged tonsils or a pulled back jaw.

    If your doctor thinks sleep apnea is likely, you may need a sleep study at home or at a sleep center. A sleep study monitors and records your breathing, heart rate and oxygen levels overnight. Regardless of if it is completed at home or in a sleep lab, this non-invasive test will use sensors attached to your head and body connected by long wires to a computer. The results, which may include measuring heart, lung, brain activity, breathing patterns, arm and leg movements and oxygen levels while asleep will help your doctor make a diagnosis of sleep apnea. A sleep study completed in a sleep center will provide your doctor with more information than can be collected while using a portable sleep apnea test at home.

    Women May Have Subtler Nocturnal Sleep Apnea Symptoms

    âOSA is underdiagnosed in both men and women. However, women are diagnosed with OSA at older ages and with higher body mass index than men, in part owing to their more subtle nocturnal symptoms,â Jelic says.

    According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, sleep apnea occurs in both genders across all age groups, and the life-threatening sleep disorder may affect as many as 18 million Americans. If you are a woman who suspects you have sleep apnea, it’s important to understand that the disorder could present in a manner distinct from the way it commonly affects men.

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    What Causes Sleep Apnoea

    Contributing factors for sleep apnoea include:

    • Being overweight or obese fat on the inside of the neck surrounds the throat making it narrower.
    • Age people get older their throat muscles tend to relax more during sleep.
    • Alcohol also makes the throat muscles relax more during sleep leading to sleep apnoea and snoring.
    • Certain illnesses such as reduced thyroid production or the presence of a very large goitre.
    • Large tonsils and adenoids, which may cause sleep apnoea in children.
    • Facial bone shape and the size of muscles .

    Central Sleep Apnea Causes And Risk Factors

    Sleep Apnea Symptoms

    Like obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea is more common in men and people over the age of 65. But unlike obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea is often associated with serious illness, such as heart disease, stroke, neurological disease, or spinal or brainstem injury. Some people with obstructive sleep apnea can also develop central sleep apnea when theyre being treated with positive airway pressure devices.

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    Central Sleep Apnea Happens When The Brain Is Involved

    Central sleep apnea is less common than obstructive sleep apnea. It can also be trickier to diagnose and treat. Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused by a mechanical problem that blocks the airway, central sleep apnea occurs because the brain is not sending the proper messages to the muscles that control breathing. Central sleep apnea is caused by a neurological reason, explains Dr. Capasso.

    What Are Sleep Apnea Symptoms In Men

    There are many universal sleep apnea symptoms, which are found in both men and women the most ubiquitous signs of sleep apnea include consistent snoring and waking up gasping for air. Although these signs are found in most people with sleep apnea, they are usually more pronounced in men. For example, men with sleep apnea often complain of intense snoring and noticeable periods of reduced breathing or constant waking up. In contrast, women with obstructive sleep apnea often report experiencing insomnia and depression.

    Men may experience other symptoms as well, such as erectile dysfunction and a decreased libido. These additional sleep apnea symptoms in men are due to the effects that sleep apnea and sleep deprivation have on testosterone and oxygen levels.

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    Know Your Sleep Apnea Risk Level

    Sleep apnea is a serious condition that affects more than 30 million Americans who suffer from lack of restorative sleep.

    The majority are undiagnosed and unaware of their condition.

    Typical symptoms include heavy snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue, difficulty with concentration or memory, among many others.

    Untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health consequences.

    Menopause Increases Your Risk Of Sleep Apnea

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    Women are more likely to experience sleep apnea after menopause.

    âThe prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea in women doubles after menopause independently of age and adiposity. In postmenopausal women, symptoms of OSA may be attributed to menopause. The hormonal changes associated with menopause that may affect respiratory muscle mechanics and respiratory drive,â Jelic says.

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    Sleep Apnea Symptoms In Women: 4 Quick Facts

    Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that presents with breathing interruptions while you sleep. It affects both men and women. However, sleep apnea symptoms in women may manifest in different ways than they do men, and at distinct times in women’s lives. Discover four quick facts about sleep apnea in women.

    How To Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that needs to be treated. Your medical provider or a sleep doctor can help you select a treatment plan that is right for you. Depending on the treatment, she may work in collaboration with other members of the sleep team, including dentists, psychologists, physician assistants, nurses and technologists. Your plan may include any combination of these treatments:

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    What Are Symptoms Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    The most common symptom of sleep apnea is snoring. However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Snoring is likely to be a sign of sleep apnea when it is followed by silent breathing pauses and choking or gasping sounds. People with sleep apnea often have daytime sleepiness or fatigue.

    Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

    • Loud or frequent snoring
    • Irritability

    What Is A Cpap Device And How Does It Work

    What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

    A CPAP device is a machine that uses a hose and airtight nosepiece or mask to deliver a steady stream of air as you sleep. The air pressure helps keep your airway open, preventing pauses in breathing.

    CPAP technology is constantly being updated and improved, and the new CPAP devices are lighter, quieter, and more comfortable than they used to be. So even if youve given up on them in the past, you owe it to yourself to give them a second look.

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    How Is Sleep Apnoea Diagnosed

    If you think you or someone you know has the signs and symptoms of sleep apnoea, see a GP. If your GP suspects you may have sleep apnoea, you may be referred to a sleep specialist.

    Depending on their examination and assessment, your GP or sleep physician may arrange for you to have a sleep study.

    A sleep study is a medical test used to diagnose a range of sleep disorders including sleep apnoea. A sleep study looks at what you do when you go to sleep. Most sleep studies measure:

    • brain signals
    • oxygen levels in the blood
    • sleep position and limb movements
    • heart rate
    • breathing and snoring.

    You will be attached to a portable machine and monitoring leads will be placed on your body to track your sleep throughout the night.

    Sleep studies can be done at home or by staying overnight in a special sleep clinic and are provided in public and private health services.

    Causes Of Sleep Apnea

    The most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea in children is enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids. Both the tonsils and adenoids are lymph tissue. The tonsils are located in the back of the throat, and the adenoids are located at the back of the nose. During sleep there is a considerable decrease in muscle tone, which affects the airway and breathing. Many of these children have little difficulty breathing when awake however, with decreased muscle tone during sleep, the airway becomes smaller, and the tonsils and adenoids block the airway. This makes the flow of air more difficult and increases the work the child has to do to breathe. It can be compared to breathing through a small, flimsy straw with the straw occasionally collapsing and blocking airflow. Many of the short pauses in breathing cause a brief arousal that increases muscle tone, opens the airway and allows the child to resume breathing.

    Although the actual number of minutes of arousal during the night may be small, the repeated disruptions can result in a poor night’s sleep, which can lead to significant daytime problems in children. The child is usually unaware of waking up because he/she is not waking up completely. The parents often describe the child as a very restless sleeper.

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    What Are The Different Types Of Sleep Apnea

    There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Many symptoms overlap between these two types of sleep apnea, which is why its important to know the difference between each type, along with potential causes and risk factors. Some people may even have obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea at the same time a condition known as complex sleep apnea syndrome.

    Obstructive sleep apnea is far more common than central sleep apnea, and affects an estimated 22% of men and 17% of women globally. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when throat muscles relax to block the airway during sleep and is mainly caused by excess weight, smoking, and the use of alcohol and sedatives.

    Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain is unable to send signals to the muscles that control breathing. This can lead to short periods of stopped breathing, along with shortness of breath and sleep disturbances throughout the night. Central sleep apnea may be caused by the use of painkillers, heart disorders, and certain problems that affect the brain stem such as stroke or brain infection.

    Diagnosing And Treating Sleep Apnea For Better Health

    Sleep Apnea Symptoms And Natural Remedies That Work

    Its important to treat sleep apnea, because it can have long-term consequences for your health. While there have been some high-profile deaths linked to sleep apneasuch as with Judge Antonin Scalia Jun says that the true risk is from damage done over time.

    Obstructive sleep apnea can range from mild to severe, based on a measurement system called the apnea-hypopnea index . The AHI measures the number of breathing pauses that you experience per hour that you sleep.

    Obstructive sleep apnea is classified by severity:

    • Severe obstructive sleep apnea means that your AHI is greater than 30
    • Moderate obstructive sleep apnea means that your AHI is between 15 and 30
    • Mild obstructive sleep apnea means that your AHI is between 5 and 15

    Johns Hopkins Home Care

    We provide high quality, individualized care for patients of all ages where you feel most comfortable your home or community. Our services and equipment are designed to help you regain and retain a level of independence.

    Whether or not you need treatment for sleep apnea depends on its severity, whether or not you have symptoms such as sleepiness and other health conditions. For example, if you have risk factors for heart disease, your doctor might opt to treat you even for mild sleep apnea. On the other hand, if you have a severe case of sleep apnea, your doctor might insist on treatment even if youre not sleepy.

    Not very relaxing, right? Luckily, its treatable.

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    What Are The Risk Factors For Sleep Apnea

    You are at a higher risk for obstructive sleep apnea if:

    The ASAA estimates that between 1 and 4 percent of American children have sleep apnea.

    Although surgical removal of the tonsils and adenoids is the most common treatment for pediatric obstructive sleep apnea, positive airway pressure therapy and oral appliances are also prescribed.

    Make an appointment with your doctor if youre exhibiting any of the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, especially:

    • loud, disruptive snoring
    • episodes of stopped breathing while sleeping
    • abrupt awakenings from sleep that are frequently accompanied by gasping or choking

    Your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist, a medical doctor with additional training and education in sleep medicine.

    Treatment for severe obstructive sleep apnea includes lifestyle changes, therapies and surgeries, if needed.

    What Are The Effects Of Sleep Apnea

    If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a number of health problems including hypertension, stroke, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy , heart failure, diabetes, obesity and heart attacks.

    Its likely that sleep apnea can cause arrhythmias and heart failure because if you have sleep apnea, you tend to have higher blood pressure. In fact, sleep apnea occurs in about 50% of people with heart failure or atrial fibrillation.

    This is because sleep apnea can cause:

    • Repeated episodes of oxygen lowering .
    • Changes in carbon dioxide levels.
    • Direct effects on the heart due to pressure changes within the chest.
    • Increased levels of markers of inflammation.

    With the high prevalence of sleep apnea in cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure , experts recommend that you dont delay in seeking the advice of your physician.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/03/2020.

    References

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