People who snore or have sleep disturbances associated with their breathing may be having sleep apnea.

In this article you will learn the following:

1. What is sleep apnea?

2. Symptoms of sleep apnea

3. Signs and Sleep apnea symptoms in men, women and children

What is sleep apnea? Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by short timed pauses in breathing, or loss of breath intermittently. This may be caused by airway collapse, nasal congestion, obstruction of the airways or loss of coordination between the brain and the respiration center in the brain due to brain damage or other brain diseases.

Sleep apnea
What is sleep apnea? Sleep apnea symptoms

Sleep apnea affects men more than women, in fact, from several reports, it has been established that anatomy-wise, men have a wider neck while women have a narrow neck. Men have higher chances of having tissue collapse at the back of the throat which may cause obstruction of the airways. Another cause of sleep apnea is enlarged tonsils and adenoid or low jaw anatomy.

Sleep apnea is common in obese people as well as those who by virtue of their anatomical plan are predisposed to having it, in such cases, surgery may be necessary to correct it.

Pregnant and premenopausal women also have higher chances of having sleep apnea due to pressure placed on their lungs by the uterus.

Some of the few signs of sleep apnea are the following:

1. Turning blue especially at night (cyanosis). This may happen when a sufferer is under suspension of breath.

2. Brain damage and risk of stroke: Airway obstruction may impact the brain negatively as a 2-minute stoppage of oxygen to the brain may cause serious adverse effect such as brain damage.

3. Irregular heart rates (arrhythmias)

4. Sleep disturbance and frequent wakeups in the night; Sleep apnea in children may be seen in kids who had premature delivery. Formation of extra tonsilar tissue may be common in such children, also children who had Down’s syndrome are at a higher risk of developing sleep apnea.

Both men and women are liable to develop sleep apnea, but it is about four times more common in men than women however, the following sleep apnea symptoms in women are obtainable in premenopausal and pregnant women:

5. Severe headache and daytime fatigue

6. Loss of appetite

7. Profuse sweating and fast-paced irregular breathing

8. Frequent urination

Other signs of sleep apnea include migraine, irregular sleep patterns and high blood pressure.

Symptoms of sleep apnea

Sleep apnea symptoms are very similar to other medical conditions such as congestive heart disease, lung diseases etc.

The following are symptoms of sleep apnea:

1. Daytime sleepiness

Increased risk of accidents is associated with daytime sleepiness due to frequent sleep disturbances in the night.

2. Snoring

Those who have sleep apnea are prone to snoring in the night due to frequent airway obstruction.

3. Headache

Splitting headache and migraine is very common in patients who has sleep disturbances, or if they wake up frequently.

4. Poor performance at work

Poor performance at work is another trend common with people who wake up frequently in the night. They often complain of low energy, sweat frequently and have poor memory.

5. Diabetes

The risk of diabetes is high in sleep apnea patients as its one of the sleep apnea symptoms which needs urgent attention. Body clock and biorhythm may be adversely affected, this may lead to obesity in some patients due to frequent extraction of fat which is converted to glucose in the presence of fatigue. Left over fats could be stored in the adipose tissues under the skin.

6. Depression

Depression is another one of sleep apnea symptoms, this may lead to psychological breakdown as it causes frequent mood changes as well as mood swing.

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