What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea causes frequent drops in your oxygen level, and reduced sleep quality triggers the release of stress hormones. This raises your heart rate and increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats).

Common symptoms of sleep apnea

You may experience sleep apnea symptoms daily or just once in a while. At times, any of these sleep symptoms can be severe:

  • Decreased libido
  • Dryness in your throat when you wake up
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Memory problems
  • Mood swings
  • Poor concentration
  • Snoring that can be loud and persistent
  • Sore or dry throat
  • Urination at night

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, sleep apnea can be life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms:

  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Profuse sweating
  • Weakness (loss of strength) on one side of the body


What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is the name of a common disease characterized by interruption of breathing during sleep. This interruption of breathing causes an abnormal blood oxygen level, resulting in fatigue, as well as cardiovascular, cognitive and emotional disorders.

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in the United States. The disease is more common in men, African Americans, Hispanics, an... Read more about sleep apneaintroduction


What causes sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is the result of obstruction or irregular brain signaling. The disease is characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep.

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), caused by soft tissue or structural obstructions that restrict air flow through the windpipe. For this reason, sleep apnea occurs most frequently in people who are... Read more about sleep apneacauses


How is sleep apnea treated?

Treatment for sleep apnea begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. To determine if you have sleep apnea, your health care provider will ask you to undergo diagnostic testing.

The type of treatment for sleep apnea depends on cause and severity of the condition and medical history of the individual.

Main treatment for sleep apnea

The ... Read more about sleep apneatreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 30, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Lungs, Breathing and Respiration

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