While sleep apnea might not sound like a very serious problem it can have very serious effects on your life. Experts agree that in order to function properly, most adults need around seven or eight hours of sleep each night and most of this should be uninterrupted to allow the brain to get into its deep sleep rhythms. If you have sleep apnea, however you're probably being awakened many times during the night and thus unable to get into a deep sleep.
People with sleep apnea often wake up unrefreshed even though they've been in bed for eight hours. Sometimes they might wake up with a headache, sore throat or dry mouth. If you're not getting the necessary sleep at night or not feeling good when you wake up then chances are you are not performing your best at work and may even be falling asleep at your desk, or worse yet while driving.
Sleep apnea can affect your personal life too. If you're not getting enough sleep, your probably cranky and not too much fun to be around. Of course, this can have adverse effects on any relationship and also diminishes your enjoyment of life.
So if you have sleep apnea, you'd see why it would be important to get to your doctor in order to have the appropriate diagnosis, wouldn't you? Then why are so many people suffering with this when there are treatments available? The simple reason is that over 90% of the people with sleep apnea don't even know that they have it!
Sleep apnea can be a very subtle problem and because it is happening while you're asleep, you might not even remember them waking up in the middle of the night. Therefore, you probably want to be aware of some other symptoms that might indicate the need for a trip to the doctor. Here are some things to look out for:
1. Loud snoring (many people that don't have sleep apnea snore however this may be an indication). 2. Choking or gasping for air during the night. 3. A waking suddenly. 4. Waking up in the morning and feeling like you didn't get enough sleep. 5. Waking up in the middle of the night in a sweat. 6. Being sleepy during the day for no good reason. 7. Waking up with a dry mouth, headache or sore throat.
Sleep apnea can be caused by a few things, the most common type called obstructive sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction that blocks your breathing. This can be either that you have large adenoids or tonsils, you have a smaller than normal airway due to the shape of your neck, your soft palate is getting in the way of your breathing or your tongue and throat muscles relax too much when you are sleeping.
The two other types of sleep apnea are central sleep apnea which is very rare and is the cause of a central nervous system disorder caused by a brain infection, brain tumor, stroke or injury and mixed sleep apnea which is a combination of the central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.
In addition to wreaking havoc on your relationships and your enjoyment of life, sleep apnea can have some pretty serious health problems as well. When you stop breathing during the night not only does it cause sleep deprivation, it also causes oxygen deprivation. These can in turn affect her life in the following ways:
1. Daytime tiredness
2. Emotional imbalance
3. Poor mental function
4. Compromised immune system
5. Low energy
6. Slow reaction time
7. Heart abnormalities
8. High blood pressure and stroke
9. Memory problems
10. Weight gain
11. Sexual dysfunction
13. More apt to falsely driving, thus causing a car accident
If you do have sleep apnea, however, don't despair! There are quite a few treatments available and you should be able to find something that suit you.