Do you feel like you just never get a good night’s rest? If you’re tired more often than not, something could be interfering with your sleep. Learn how to tell if you have sleep apnea, so you can make sure you’re getting the rest you need.
How to Tell If You Have Sleep Apnea
Sleep issues are a common problem for seniors. In fact, nearly one in four seniors struggle to get enough sleep every night. There are lots of things that can improve the rest you get, like getting regular exercise or having a set bedtime routine. While these things can help you feel more rested, there are some sleep issues that require more attention. One of those issues is sleep apnea.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition where a person’s breathing patterns are interrupted during the night. During normal sleep, there is continuous air flow through the throat and down to the lungs. If you suffer from sleep apnea, it means your airway is too constricted during sleep for this to occur. This can lower the oxygen levels in your blood, which can have an adverse effect on your sleep quality and overall health.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can lead to medical issues like chronic headaches, diabetes, and even strokes or other cardiac events. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, it is in your best interest to seek treatment. But do you know how to tell if you have sleep apnea?
The Signs of Sleep Apnea
Luckily, sleep apnea is an easy condition to spot once you know what you’re looking for. The Mayo Clinic advises concerned seniors to keep an eye out for these warning signs:
Snoring or Paused Breathing During Sleep
The easiest way to spot sleep apnea is snoring. You don’t necessarily need to be concerned if you are an occasional, quiet snorer. This can occur for lots of reasons, such as seasonal allergies. However, if your snoring is persistent and so loud that other people cannot sleep comfortably beside you, it’s a sign your body is struggling to breathe during the night. If you have ever slept next to someone who has noticed you gasping, choking, or coughing during sleep, that can also be a sign of impeded breathing. Sleep apnea is the most likely cause.
Excessive Daytime Drowsiness
If you always feel tired no matter how much sleep you get, sleep apnea could be the culprit. Do you experience excessive daytime sleepiness, even on nights where you get over seven hours of sleep? Are you often irritable or depressed during the day, and you aren’t sure why? Do you sometimes struggle to concentrate during the day? If you’re missing out on good sleep because of sleep apnea, your body will tell you.
High Blood Pressure, Morning Headaches, and Other Unexplained Medical Issues
Sleep apnea lowers the oxygen levels in your blood, which can affect your body in ways you may not initially connect to sleep issues. Do you often wake up with a headache that recedes throughout the course of the day? Do you have unexplained high blood pressure? Do you have an unexplained dry mouth, or persistent cough or sore throat without a correlating medical issue? All of these are signs of sleep apnea. On their own, they may not mean anything. However, if you are experiencing them alongside some of the other symptoms listed above, sleep apnea could be the cause.
While all of these symptoms can indicate issues with sleep, a doctor is the only one who can definitively diagnose sleep apnea. If you’re concerned you may have it, talk to your doctor about setting up a sleep study. Treatments for sleep apnea are readily available, and they can improve your quality of life significantly. Don’t miss out on getting the help you need.
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