HomeHealthSnoring:  Symptoms that Signal Apnea: Interrupted Sleep

Sleep Conditions and Apnea: Know the Symptoms

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects many people, and the first step in diagnosing it is knowing common symptoms. Because of the hectic daily schedules of many Americans and their long lists of obligations and responsibilities, sleep is often ignored, forgotten or reduced to very limited amounts. However, sleep and the recuperation of daily stores of energy is necessary for people to continue their daily activities, so lack of sleep and persistent fatigue can become a real and dangerous problem. Because many adults have very limited time for sleep as it is, any problem that interferes with sleep can have serious effects.

Understanding Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep apnea symptoms are not as obviously indicative of the condition as the symptoms of other problems or disorders, so sleep apnea can be difficult to diagnose or frequently confused with other problems. One of the primary sleep apnea symptoms is when a person stops breathing repeatedly during sleep. The airway becomes obstructed or closed off, preventing proper air flow and causing people to temporarily stop breathing. However, when the body reaches the point where oxygen is urgently required, the body will wake itself up to open the airways and restore air flow. This can happen many times during each night without the person ever being aware that it is happening because the sudden wake-ups are short and incomplete, almost imperceptible to the consciousness of the sleeper. However, these repeated sleep disturbances can really interrupt the normal sleep patterns, causing people with sleep apnea to never get a good night's sleep, even though they may sleep eight or more hours each night.

The most common sleep apnea symptoms are a loud, disruptive, snort-like snoring that occurs when the body wakes itself to quickly restore air flow and a persistent fatigue that continues day in and day out even when a person is sleeping a sufficient number of hours each night. In many cases, people who do not live with or sleep in the same bed with someone may not realize that they have a sleeping disturbance because they will not hear or be aware of the snoring symptom. For these people, recognizing the presence of persistent fatigue can be the first and only clue to begin solving the problem. The problem with this symptom, though, is that fatigue is a symptom of numerous ailments and conditions, so relying on fatigue to diagnose sleep apnea can result in many wrong guesses and much time wasted trying to cure the wrong problem. If you are plagued by persistent fatigue and live alone, be sure to ask your doctor about the possibility of sleep apnea. Being aware of the condition and sleep apnea symptoms can help you be better prepared to deal with curing the problem should it ever affect you or someone in your family.

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