How to Diagnose Sleep Apnea?

The definition of sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a respiration disorder. People having sleep apnea pause their breathing during sleep. The time of pause ranges from several seconds to a few minutes, which is called apnea. In the severe cases, the breathing pause occurs frequently in every hour. Although the respiratory rate of people suffering from sleep anea is usually abnormally low, the patients may not be aware of the ahypopnea themselves.

Sleep apnea can occur with all people regardless of their gender or age. People more susceptible to sleep apea are those with overweight problem, those with a larger tonsil/tongue, a small jaw, or nasal problems, and those having genetic history of sleep apnea. Smoking people have a higher probability of having sleep apnea than people who do not smoke. According to statistic data, today there are more than 18,000,000 people who suffer from sleep apnea in USA.

The risks of having sleep apnea are obvious. During the breathing gaps, the CO2 in the body is building up, which stimulates the brain to wake the asleep person up. The woken person then adjusts his breathing to normal and may fall back to sleep again. But when the sleep apnea happens again, he will be woken up again. This frequent interruption of sleep is annoying and sleep apnea sufferers may feel fatigue in the whole day.

sleep apnea symptoms and signs

Now you have known what sleep apnea is, who are prone to develop sleep apnea. You also know the negative effects of sleep apnea. You may wonder if you have sleep apnea. In the following, We will look into the most significant signs of sleep apnea that can help you to know if you’ve developed sleep apnea.

The three strongest signs of sleep apnea are: the frequent breathing pauses and wake-ups at night, the consistent and loud snoring in sleep, and the headache or fatigue in the daytime. When all the 3 major signs occur, it is very likely that you’ve developed sleep apnea. Some people think excessive snoring is equal to sleep apnea but it is not true. Most snorers do not have sleep apnea.

If most of the warning signals of sleep apnea occur with you, it is the right time to visit a sleep expert for an official diagnose. Epsworth Sleepiness Scale is often used by sleep specialists to diagnose sleep apnea. Sleep apnea sufferers often feel the exteme urge to fall asleep during their daytime activities such as talking with others or eating.

The most believable evidence of sleep apnea is the hundreds of wake-ups in the night.  The witness of your spouse is very helpful in diagnosing this problem. It is hard to know this if you sleep alone. But if you often feel headache in the morning or throughout the day, you’d better go to a sleep specialist to check if you have some kind of sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea suffers often feel extremely tired in the morning because they wake up many times in the night. They may not remember the fact of the repeated wake-ups at night but their bed partners should know and they may hear the snoring or gasp as well.

Other signs of sleep apnea

Apart from the above strongest signs of sleep apnea, there are other secondary warning signs you should notice.

Urinating frequently at night is another sign of sleep apnea. People who urinates repeatedly at night are more likely to have other problems such as urinary incontinence. So this sign is  just a secondary deciding factor for sleep apnea. Why could sleep apnea cause repeated urination? The reason is that the disruption of breathing would put pressure on the heart, which, in turn, affects the urinary system such as the kidneys in a negative way and alters the production of urine. The result is the urge to urine when woken up by sleep apnea.

People suffering from sleep apnea may find their mouth dry and their teeth gummy when they wake up in the moring. This is because the blockage of the nasal passages forces them to open their mouth to breathe at night.

Other sleep apnea symptoms include depression, inability of concentrating, and irritation in the daytime. These conditions may relate to other problems so they can only be considered as secondary signals of sleep apnea.

child sleep apnea

Children can also develop sleep apnea as adults. The diagnose of sleep apnea  is more difficult for children than adults. There are special symptoms for child sleep apnea suffers such as sweating at night and nightmares. You are suggested to take your children to a sleep apnea specialist for a sleep study to diagnose the problem as soon as possible.

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