Sleep apnea is a common condition that is most associated with snoring and pauses in breathing while asleep. Unless you have a partner or roommate who alerts you to these habits, you may have no idea that you are suffering from sleep apnea. However, there are some things that happen while you’re not sleeping that are associated with sleep apnea. When most people don’t get a proper night’s sleep, they feel a bit sluggish the next day. But what if you never get a proper night’s sleep? This sluggishness snowballs into other more severe symptoms that trace back to sleep apnea. Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms of sleep apnea that happen while you’re awake and how to get proper sleep apnea treatment now to start feeling better.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea causes involuntary breathing pauses or “apneic events” during a single night’s sleep. There may be as many as 20 to 30 or more events per hour. Between events, you may snore. But not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Sleep apnea may also make you feel like you are choking. The frequent interruptions of deep, restorative sleep often lead to early morning headaches and excessive daytime sleepiness.

During the apneic event, you can’t breathe in oxygen or exhale carbon dioxide. This results in low levels of oxygen and increased levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. This alerts the brain to resume breathing and causes an arousal. With each arousal, a signal is sent from the brain to the upper airway muscles to open the airway. Breathing is resumed, often with a loud snort or gasp. Frequent arousals, although necessary for breathing to restart, prevent restorative, deep sleep.

There are three types of sleep apnea:

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea. This happens when air can’t flow into or out of the nose or mouth, although efforts to breathe continue. This is the most common type of sleep apnea.
  2. Central sleep apnea. This happens when the brain fails to send the right signals to the muscles to start breathing. Central sleep apnea is less common than obstructive sleep apnea.
  3. Complex sleep apnea. This is a mix of symptoms found in both central and obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea and Snoring

The most famous symptom of sleep apnea, and its hallmark, is snoring. Most people think that snoring is just an annoying, silly, irritating habit. However, snoring is always a symptom of a larger problem. Many people temporarily snore if they are sick or have a congested nose due to allergies. However, chronic, ongoing snoring should be addressed.

This is because when someone is not snoring, they are breathing through their nose. This is the normal, natural way of breathing. When there is an obstruction, the body goes into survival mode and breathes through the mouth. This is an issue because the nose filters the air that enters the lungs while the mouth does not. This leads to low levels of quality oxygen in the bloodstream, which makes it more difficult to fight off illnesses and infections.

Chronic snoring and mouth breathing can cause dental issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, difficulty swallowing, and much more.

Common Sleep Apnea Symptoms That Happen While You’re Awake

If you do not have a partner or roommate to let you know that you snore, you may have no idea that you are suffering from sleep apnea. However, there are a host of other symptoms that take place when sleep apnea is in full swing. There are many physical and behavioral symptoms, as well as major health complications that take place. By treating your sleep apnea, you can quickly reverse many of these symptoms.

Physical Symptoms

Some of the physical symptoms of sleep apnea that take place while you are awake include:

  • Frequent headaches. Many people suffer from frequent headaches, some so severe that they can be confused for migraines. These headaches usually occur first thing in the morning and can last for several hours.
  • Dry mouth. If you wake up every morning with a dry mouth, a sore throat and are very thirsty, there is a good chance you are sleeping with your mouth open.
  • Frequent wakings throughout the night. Do you wake up a lot throughout the night? This symptom is commonly confused with insomnia. However, your body is in survival mode and not able to settle into a deep sleep. This causes frequent awakenings throughout the night.
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness. Are you always tired in the morning rather than feeling refreshed and ready to start your day? Are you constantly reaching for more coffee or stimulants to keep you awake? Do you require a nap at some point during the day? If so, there is a good chance you are suffering from sleep apnea.

Behavioral Symptoms

When most people do not get a good night’s sleep, they may be very tired the next day and unable to have the same energy they normally have. Being tired can lead to some behavioral issues, commonly referred to as being cranky. However, when people who are suffering from untreated sleep apnea are not getting a good night’s sleep night after night, these behavioral issues can snowball into a large issue that affects their everyday lives.

Some of the behavioral issues that stem from untreated sleep apnea include:

  • Difficulty paying attention or focusing. Sitting through a lecture, getting complicated work done, or studying can be almost impossible when your body is exhausted. Untreated sleep apnea can cause you to lose focus and have poor performance at work or in school.
  • Irritability and mood swings. A person’s mood can be greatly impacted when they do not get a restful night’s sleep. But when someone’s poor sleep is chronic and happens night after night, this can quickly lead to irritability, mood swings, depression, and anxiety.
  • Never feeling fully rested. When you have sleep apnea, you do not get restful sleep. Your body wakes itself up throughout the night, never allowing you to fall into a deep sleep. If you’re waking up every morning feeling like there just aren’t enough hours in the night, there is a chance your body suffering from sleep apnea.

Health Complications

All of the physical and behavioral symptoms of sleep apnea should not be taken lightly. Undiagnosed sleep apnea will not only cause annoying symptoms, but it can also lead to some serious health complications. By seeking sleep apnea treatment, Los Angeles, you will greatly reduce, or even eliminate, your chances of getting the following health issues:

  • Obesity. Many people assume that obesity is the cause of sleep apnea. While many individuals with obesity do have sleep apnea, you do not need to have obesity in order to suffer from it. However, people can eventually become obese when they have sleep apnea. This is due to many factors, including the fact that there is poor oxygen in the blood, which makes it very difficult to lose weight. Energy levels are low, which means physical activity and exercise are less likely, and large amounts of sugary drinks and foods in order to stay awake are more common.
  • Cardiovascular issues. Sleep apnea can quickly lead to many problems with the heart. Some of these include high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, heart attack, stroke, heart arrhythmias, and cardiovascular disease. It’s estimated that patients with sleep apnea are 2-4 times more likely to develop heart arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) than people without this condition. Sleep apnea increases the risk of heart failure by 140% and the risk of coronary heart disease by 30%.
  • Diabetes. Obstructive sleep apnea alters glucose metabolism, promotes insulin resistance, and is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes. Obesity is a key moderator of the effect of OSA on type 2 diabetes.

When to Get Sleep Apnea Treatment

If you’re feeling any symptoms of sleep apnea, it is time to seek sleep apnea treatment. Sleep apnea is usually diagnosed by performing a sleep test. Doctors will be able to determine whether or not you have sleep apnea and what type it is.

Once you have received a diagnosis, you can come visit us to explore treatment options. You do not have to wear a loud, uncomfortable, bulky CPAP machine. CPAP machines can be dangerous, and they do not actually treat sleep apnea. They apply pressure to the airways allowing for restful sleep; however, they do not actually help the cause of the obstruction. By seeing a sleep apnea specialist, such as Gorman Health and Wellness, we can help treat the root cause of your sleep apnea for better long-term results.

Get Sleep Apnea Treatment with Gorman Health and Wellness

Dr. Gorman is a part of the breathing wellness movement, which aims to increase awareness and improve treatment for sleep-related airway conditions like sleep apnea. He has partnered with organizations focused on collaborating with dentists to apply the sciences of Craniofacial Epigenetics (the study of cranial modifications caused by gene expression as opposed to genetic code alteration) and Pneumopedics® (the practical application of oral appliance therapy and non-surgical airway remodeling) in the management of sleep apnea.

Together, the application of these sciences allows for underlying causes of airway obstruction to be treated in 98% of cases, resulting in a high success rate among sleep apnea patients. For every sleep apnea case at our practice, Dr. Gorman will gather patient data and determine the patient’s specific needs based on home sleep test results, dental impressions, CT scans, and images. Our state-of-the-art technology, paired with Dr. Gorman’s experience with sleep disorders, allows him to find the most effective treatment plan for each individual’s particular case, yielding improved daytime and nighttime breathing for the patient.

“I have been helping people suffering from Sleep Apnea with a non-invasive, clinically approved treatment method. This method has allowed my patients to sleep with far fewer events per hour allowing them to get rid of their CPAP and BiPAP machines. Imagine not having to use one of those machines, getting back a much greater quality of life along with the benefits of being able to breathe better.” – Dr. Gorman.

For more information on Dr. Gorman and improving your sleep apnea, contact us today.

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