Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Q: I am worried I might have sleep apnea. What are the signs and symptoms?
A: Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects thousands of Canadians. Although it can affect people of any age, gender, or ethnicity, it’s particularly common in older adults and those who are overweight or obese. Sleep apnea disrupts your breathing during sleep, which can lead to poor quality sleep, disrupted sleeping patterns, and long-term health problems. That’s why it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea so you can seek the help you need to get a good night’s rest.

Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

The most common sign of sleep apnea is loud snoring due to airway obstruction. Other signs that may indicate you have sleep apnea include gasping for air while asleep, feeling tired even after a full night’s rest, waking up with a headache, dry mouth or sore throat upon waking up in the morning, irritability throughout the day due to lack of restful sleep, difficulty staying awake while driving or working during the day, among others. Additionally, if you notice your partner has any of these symptoms, they should be seen by their family doctor as soon as possible as they could be suffering from undiagnosed sleep apnea.
If you think that you or your partner may have sleep apnea there are certain steps you can take to get an accurate diagnosis. The first step is to see your family doctor for an initial consultation about your symptoms. Your doctor will then refer you for a sleep study (also known as polysomnography) at a local sleep clinic where trained professionals will assess your breathing patterns throughout the night. This test can provide valuable insight into whether or not someone has sleep apnea so they can begin treatment right away if necessary.
airways when you sleep-sleep-apnea

Treating Sleep Apnea

Once diagnosed with sleep apnea your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking or losing weight if either are applicable to your situation. Your doctor may also suggest using special devices like Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines which help keep airways open during sleep by providing constant airflow pressure through a mask worn over your nose while sleeping. If CPAP therapy isn’t successful there are other options available like oral appliances which work by changing the position of your jaw and tongue while sleeping in order to keep airways open without the need for a mask on your face all night long.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that affects millions of Canadians every year—but it doesn’t have to be debilitating if caught early enough. By recognizing the signs and symptoms of this condition and seeking medical attention right away, if necessary, sufferers can manage their condition before it starts having negative impacts on their health and wellbeing. If you think that you or someone close to you may be suffering from this condition, please speak with your family doctor about getting referred for testing so we can help put an end to sleepless nights!
Lakeside Medical Supplies is your local supplier of CPAP machines, masks and testing in Vernon and Salmon Arm BC. Our staff have over fifteen years of experience providing home healthcare products to assist others in their quality of life. We understand your needs and can help you select the right products for you.
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