“Do I have sleep apnea?”
You might know what sleep apnea is, but if you have it, you may not even know that you suffer from it. One out of every 50 people in the U.S. has an undiagnosed case of sleep apnea. Of course, a big reason why people are never diagnosed is because the main characteristics of this disorder are most active when the sufferer is asleep! Many times, a partner or roommate will know something is wrong, but if the sufferer never takes a home sleep test, the diagnosis may remain a mystery.
Even when someone suspects a sleep apnea diagnosis, he or she may be deterred by the thought of having to use CPAP supplies like a CPAP machine, a sleep apnea mask, or nasal pillows. However, these products can be quite effective for many sufferers, and they can help prevent the dangerous risks sleep apnea presents. But before you receive an official diagnosis and start researching the different kinds of CPAP supplies you could use, you might want to take a look at these six common symptoms of sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring
Loud and frequent snoring is one of the markers of sleep apnea. But before you start searching for CPAP machines, you should know that excessive snoring doesn’t necessarily mean you have sleep apnea. Don’t automatically assume you or someone you know has sleep apnea because of snoring alone; you should be concerned only when snoring is combined with at least some of the other symptoms on this list.
- Choking, gasping, or abnormal breathing patterns
If you or someone else exhibits odd breathing patterns like gasping, choking, or snorting — or has abnormal pauses while breathing — you might be a sleep apnea sufferer. These breaks from normal breathing can be particularly scary for others to hear, though the sufferer may never realize what’s happening. If these abnormalities are coupled with loud snoring and other symptoms, consider getting a home test for sleep apnea.
- Daytime fatigue
This is a big one. If someone just happens to snore, he or she doesn’t normally experience excessive daytime fatigue. On the other hand, sleep apnea sufferers are very much affected by their disorder, even if they aren’t aware of their symptoms while they’re asleep. If you’re experiencing extreme sleepiness during the day and don’t know why — and you’ve been told you snore — you may be getting some CPAP supplies in your near future.
Some sleep apnea sufferers also struggle with insomnia, restlessness, or nighttime wakings. These symptoms can be caused by other things, of course, but if you’re experiencing the rest of the symptoms above and insomnia or fitful sleep episodes, you may want to contact a sleep expert.
- Lack of focus
Along with daytime sleepiness, sleep apnea sufferers may have trouble concentrating during the day. If you’ve noticed that your memory retention has decreased or you’re unable to focus on important tasks during waking hours, an official diagnosis and use of sleep related medical equipment may help.
- Irritability or depression
Some sleep apnea sufferers can also exhibit uncharacteristic moodiness, irritability, or depression. If you can’t attribute these symptoms to other causes, you may want to explore the idea of having a home sleep test for sleep apnea to find out whether that might be the real cause.
Sleep apnea might not seem like a big deal, but it’s actually a dangerous disorder. Left untreated, sleep apnea sufferers are at a higher risk for stroke, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes, and other serious complications. If you think you or someone you know might be suffering from sleep apnea, contact a sleep specialist. If you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea, your doctor can recommend which types of CPAP supplies are available to you. Don’t ignore the warning signs. Getting a better night’s sleep could save your life.