Have you ever woken up to your alarm after 8 hours of sleep and still felt tired? Maybe you feel grumpy throughout the day from restless sleep?

If so, you, alongside almost 22 million Americans, might also go through sleep apnea. While there are a couple of different classifications of this sleep disorder, one of the more common forms is called obstructive sleep apnea.

Curious what it actually is? Continue reading for an overview and how to spot obstructive sleep apnea symptoms.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

One of the common forms of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the throat are relaxed. This leads to soft tissue blocking the airway throughout a night of sleep.

A whole host of negative side effects happen as a result of this serious condition. However, it can be treated. That is why it’s important to look for signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea before it leads to more serious issues like heart disease or stroke.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Symptoms

The most common sign of obstructive sleep apnea is daytime sleepiness or fatigue. While you may not notice your lack of restful sleep during the night, your body will certainly feel it throughout the day.

Six other symptoms may include:

  • Snoring, gasping, or choking during sleep
  • Waking with dry mouth
  • Waking with headaches
  • Insomnia in place of daytime sleepiness
  • Hypertension
  • Memory problems

Causes

Various factors contribute to obstructive sleep apnea, but there are some that put you more at risk than others.

Excess weight is most common cause. Not all of those who are overweight have sleep apnea, however, extra deposits of fat above an airway can obstruct breathing to a major degree. Specific conditions associated with obesity such as polycystic ovary syndrome can also contribute to obstructive sleep apnea.

Other causes may include:

  • Old age
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Genetics
  • Asthma

Treatments

If any of the above causes or symptoms are making you question: do I have obstructive sleep apnea? It’s smart to schedule a consult with a specialty doctor that focuses on treating such disorders. For example, an ENT doctor focuses on, and is specifically trained on, how to treat obstructive sleep apnea.

Depending on your needs, your doctor will review your symptoms and general medical history. From there, confirming a diagnosis is the next step. You can then complete either an in-lab sleep study or an at-home study.

Both tests can be useful in working toward your obstructive sleep apnea treatment. Your doctor will be able to work with you to determine which is best for your needs and come up with a treatment plan.

Sleep Well!

Recognizing obstructive sleep apnea symptoms can save you from having to muddle through your day half asleep. Knowing the signs can also quite literally save your life.

If you feel like you’ve been experiencing sleepiness throughout your days, frequent headaches, and inability to concentrate, it may be time to check with your doctor for an official diagnosis and treatment plan.

If you’re interested in additional ways to improve your health and wellness, be sure to browse through the Health section for more articles.

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