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Sleep Apnea Symptoms

One of the most common sleep apnea symptoms is halted breathing for a short period of time, 10 seconds or more, many times every hour. Most apneas last less than half a minute, but occasionally in some more serious cases they may extend to a minute or more.

Typically, once a person falls asleep and starts having apneas, they happen pretty regularly once or twice every minute, totaling up to a few hundred events during a night.

Respiratory disturbance index - RDI - calculated during a sleep study shows the number of sleep interruptions per hour.

Other Sleep Apnea Symptoms include:

  • loud snoring
  • fragmented sleep
  • restless sleep
  • falling asleep while driving, at work, etc.
  • morning headaches
  • chest pain
  • sweating
  • choking sensations
  • memory problems
  • loss of energy
  • trouble concentrating
  • irritability
  • forgetfulness
  • mood or behavior changes
  • anxiety or depression
  • heartburn
  • decreased sex drive

Not all of the above listed sleep apnea symptoms have to be present in a given case, but most probably will.  

Sleep Apnea Symptoms Differ in Women vs. Men.(Brief Article)(Statistical Data Included): An article from: Family Practice News

Sleep Apnea and Health Problems

The sleep apnea syndrome may have multiple effects on one’s health. Short term consequences are quite obvious: poor sleep quality caused by difficulty achieving deeper sleep stages can cause lethargy and excessive sleepiness during the day.

We all know stories about people who fall asleep in unusual situations, not realizing that they are not "lazy" but simply have a special condition that causes them to have these episodes.  And not only is their body suffering, but their mental and emotional well being also.  They may lose jobs or get into car accidents because of their medical condition.

Long term effects of untreated sleep apnea may be even more serious.  Low blood oxygen saturation during sleep leads to inadequate supply of oxygen to the heart muscle.  Blood pressure, with all its negative effects, goes up.  Over time this situation may contribute to heart disease or even result in a heart attack.

Untreated sleep apnea may also cause coronary artery disease, myocardial infraction, stroke, psychiatric problems, or memory loss.  That’s why it is important that every person who is able to recognize certain symptoms of sleep apnea, whether in yourself or in somebody we know, should not wait or hesitate but seek medical advice or encourage others to do so.

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