Do you find that you wake up already feeling tired or get sleepy more easily throughout the day than you used to? Perhaps you feel perfectly fine, but by mid-afternoon you can barely keep your eyelids open. Could you have a sleeping disorder? If so, what are the sleep apnea symptoms you need to know about?
What is Sleep Apnea?
There are several types of sleeping disorders, but one of the most common is obstructive sleep apnea, or “OSA.” OSA is the result of physical airway blockage in the back of your throat and upper airway. It’s caused by tissues collapsing against one another and sealing off your airway, preventing oxygen flow into your lungs whenever you lay your head back to go to sleep.
In many situations, obstructive sleep apnea is due to oral structures physically blocking airflow. For example, your tongue may slide backward against enlarged tonsils and the back of your throat, reducing how much air you can breathe in.
Although people with obstructive sleep apnea frequently stop breathing or wake up and gasp for air, they may never realize they’re doing so unless someone else in the room witnesses what’s happening.
Common Signs of Sleep Apnea
What are the sleep apnea symptoms that people experience most often? Although sleep apnea can present itself differently depending on the individual, you might notice warning signs like:
- A large neck circumference
- Difficulty focusing on projects
- Falling asleep easily throughout the day
- Worn, flat enamel from teeth grinding
- Headaches or frequent migraines
- Fatigue, depression, or low libido
- High blood pressure
- Enlarged tonsils
Because obstructive sleep apnea originates near the back of the throat, it’s common to notice signs of restricted airflow in and around your head, neck, and mouth.
You may be so used to your fatigue that tiredness is a normal part of everyday life. But giving yourself the gift of quality sleep can be life-changing, especially when you have the energy to pursue furthering your career or caring for other family members.
Sleepiness is Just the Tip of the Iceberg
Feeling tired may make driving, working, or schoolwork difficult (if not dangerous,) but fatigue isn’t the only thing you need to worry about. The truth is, even though sleep apnea makes you feel tired throughout the day, your low energy levels are just one concern out of many.
Chronic, untreated sleep apnea statistically raises your chances of suffering from a life-threatening cardiovascular attack or stroke. Because it strains your cardiovascular system, people with chronic sleeping disorders are less likely to survive these medical emergencies. If you’ve already had a heart attack in the past, do not ignore the warning signs of a sleeping disorder.
Seeing a doctor about your sleeping disorder could potentially save your life. So even if you can power through the constant tiredness each day, you owe it to your loved ones to talk to a doctor about it.
Sleep Apnea Diagnosis in San Diego
Only certain types of healthcare professionals can screen for or diagnose sleeping disorder. At San Diego Sleep & TMJ Center, we can perform an intensive oral evaluation and medical screening to determine if obstructive sleep apnea is a risk. If it is, a special oral appliance can help you naturally improve your air intake while you’re sleeping at night. But you can’t get relief without seeing a professional.
When someone is experiencing at least two or three sleep apnea symptoms, a home sleep study can be one of the easiest ways to establish a firm diagnosis. These take-home tests record your heart rate, breathing, snoring, and sleep cycles while you rest in your own bed.
Sleep Apnea Treatment | San Diego
San Diego Sleep & TMJ Center offers holistic, proven methods to treat and manage certain types of sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing. If you suspect that you have some type of sleeping disorder, contact our office to reserve a consultation. After your initial screening, we can determine whether or not a home sleep study is required and, from there, the most appropriate treatment. Better sleep and more energy are right around the corner. Contact our office today for an appointment.