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How can I tell if I have sleep apnea?

Waking up and feeling tired happens to all of us. However, there might be a deeper reason behind it when it begins to happen regularly. If you are wondering if sleep apnea is the culprit, you are not alone. Millions of people have sleep disorders. Here are some ways you can tell if you have sleep apnea.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person’s breathing patterns stop and restart many times while asleep. This condition is common but could potentially be serious. That is because it lowers your oxygen levels while asleep.

The only symptom of apnea is feeling tired after a full night’s rest. Sometimes a person finds out about these breathing problems by a bed partner telling them that they noticed irregular breathing while they slept.

There are two common types of sleep apnea.

1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

This is the most common type of apnea. It occurs when your tongue or tonsils partially or completely obstruct your upper airways. Hormonal changes, obesity, and large tonsils can all play a part in developing this type of apnea.

2. Central Sleep Apnea

While sleeping, your brain works hard to keep your body functioning. However, when you have central sleep apnea, your brain does not deliver the signals your body needs to remember to breathe.

It is possible for a person to develop both types of sleep apnea at the same time. When this happens, it is called complex sleep apnea syndrome.

What are the symptoms of apnea?

Typically, snoring is the first symptom that people associate with apnea. However, you can snore and not have sleep apnea or have apnea and not snore. The symptoms vary from person to person, but here are some of the most common.

  • Loud snoring
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Another person telling you that you stop breathing and restart periodically throughout the night
  • Gasping or choking for air while you sleep
  • Trouble sleeping or staying asleep
  • Headache upon waking
  • Dizziness upon waking
  • Feeling tired and/or irritable after getting a full night of sleep

Having one or more of these symptoms is a good reason to consult your doctor. Since apnea can be a serious condition, you will want to seek out treatment if you have it.

Chronic inflammation is linked to sleep disorders. Over time this is extremely damaging to your body and can increase your risk for the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Certain cancers

What treatments help apnea?

People with sleep apnea have many options to help with their condition. Many times a doctor will order you to receive a sleep test called a polysomnogram. This test can be performed at home or at a sleep disorder center. When completed, your doctor will be able to tell you if you have apnea.

One of the most common treatments is continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP machine. This is a device with a mask you wear at night to encourage better breathing and keep your airways open while you sleep.

Lifestyle changes such as losing weight or quitting smoking all greatly improve your sleep quality. They can be extremely effective when paired with a CPAP machine.

Some doctors recommend having enlarged tonsils or nasal polyps removed to help your throat from closing at night.

Fast Access to Health Professionals

If you think you might have sleep apnea, UBERDOC can help! UBERDOC allows you to get the care you need in an easy and affordable way. We offer in-person and telemedicine appointments, ensuring that you have access to the healthcare you need, no matter how busy or restrictive your day is. Contact us today to find out more about how UBERDOC can help you!

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