Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where there is pausing of breathing for a moment or there is shallow and/or infrequent breathing during sleep. The pausing of breathing is called apnea and each spell of apnea in sleep apnea can last from several seconds to several minutes. The frequency of pausing of breath depends on the severity of sleep apnea and may be as many as 30 or more pausing per hour. Abnormally shallow breathing is called hypopnea. The diagnosis of sleep apnea is done by test called “polysomnogram” (sleep study).

Signs and symptoms of sleep apnea:

It is not possible to know yourself if you suffer from sleep apnea, because it occurs during your sleep. Hence, it is important you ask your sleep partner about the sleep apnea symptoms, if you have any. You can also find out if you have sleep apnea, by video recording your sleep.

  • Major symptoms of sleep apnea include pausing of breath (may range from 5 times an hour to more than 30 times per hour) during sleep. Choking or gasping may follow the pausing of breath. Shallow and infrequent breathing during sleep is also a major symptom of sleep apnea.
  • Other symptoms and minor symptoms of sleep apnea are sleepiness during daytime (due to inadequate and incomplete sleeping during night) at your workplace or during driving, falling asleep during daytime when you are not actively working. You may also have other symptoms such as headache in the morning, unable to concentrate, memory disturbances, learning problems, slow reflexes, you may be irritable, depressed, or your mood may swing rapidly. Dry mouth (due to breathing through mouth), sore throat, are also frequent symptoms of sleep apnea. You may wake up frequently during sleep at night to urinate.
  • Loud snoring is an important symptom of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea may jolt you out of your natural sleep.
  • Symptoms of sleep apnea among children include, loud snoring, bed wetting, unusual sleeping posture, night terrors etc. are common symptoms of sleep apnea among children. Sleep apnea is not easy to detect by untrained parents among children and you must consult your pediatrician if you suspect your child may have sleep apnea.

Do not ignore sleep apnea in children as well as in adult, because it may have serious consequences. Sleep apnea is treatable, although in many cases it goes unrecognized. Consult your doctor if you suspect you or your partner may have sleep apnea.

 

Image courtesy of [photostock] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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