Sleep apnea is a potentially serious disorder in which airway blockage causes a person’s breathing to stop and start repeatedly while they are asleep. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) if left untreated can cause oxygen deprivation which, in turn, can lead to high blood pressure and other conditions which can affect the circulatory system.
The scary part is that many people are often unaware that they have the condition. In fact, according to a recent study, 1 in 10 Aussie adults suffer from undiagnosed sleep apnea – with men being particularly vulnerable.
Snoring isn’t the only sleep apnea symptom – It is possible to have sleep apnea and never snore.
Were you aware that there are at least 7 lesser-known symptoms of sleep apnea which won’t alert you or your partner by their noise?
What are the symptoms for sleep apnea that you can’t hear?
Feeling sleepy all day long
If you feel sleepy all day, every day, then don’t just put it down to your hectic lifestyle. Many people feel tired for no apparent reason, linking it to a lack of sleep, amongst other things.
Feeling sleepy during the day is another common cause of sleep apnea although men that are suffering from the condition, tend to report daytime sleepiness more than women.
Both Obstructive Sleep Apnea (airway blockage) and Central Sleep Apnea (where the brain fails to tell your body to breath) disrupt sleep. Patients are likely to wake up numerous times during the night but often don’t recall having done so. They just feel drowsy all day long.
More frequent nightly trips to the bathroom
You may find yourself waking up more during the night for no apparent reason thinking it’s because you need to go to the bathroom. Although sometimes that may be the cause, it could also be that you’re looking for a reason to be awake and don’t really need to go.
Waking up with a pounding headache
If you wake up most mornings with a pounding headache the cause could be due to lack of sleep brought on by sleep apnea.
Even if you go to bed early and get the recommended 8 hours of sleep a day, you can be disrupted by sleep apnea.
Did you know that people suffering from severe sleep apnea can wake hundreds of times a night?
While it’s pretty common to get the Monday blues, your newfound mood swings could be due to lack of sleep. Increased stress and anxiety, together with mood swings are also some of the lesser-known symptoms of sleep apnea. Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep feel more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted.
Your driving has got worse
One of the most worrying and dangerous sleep apnea symptoms is the increased risk of being involved in a car accident. Research has shown that a large proportion of car accidents that happen around the world are as a result of not enough or disrupted sleep. Indeed, in Australia alone, driver fatigue and lack of concentration has been linked to as many as 20% of all serious highway accidents.
You’ve piled on the pounds
Not only does being overweight increase the chance of developing sleep apnea, but it can also be a contributing factor to weight gain. Poor quality of sleep affects the production of hormones relating to appetite and as mentioned above, OSA can also cause you to feel sleepy during the day.
This means you are probably physically less active which can cause you to pile on the pounds. Even worse, because some hormones aren’t reaching their peak or being produced at all, a person can become insulin-resistant which could lead to diabetes.
It’s hard to be intimate
Impotence is a big sign of sleep apnea for men. While many people attribute impotence to stress or testosterone, the actual cause could well be sleep apnea. According to the National Sleep Foundation, men with erectile dysfunction are more than twice as likely to have sleep apnea than those men who are sleeping normally. The good news for patients with both ED and OSA is that treatment for sleep apnea has been shown to improve ED symptoms.
If you suspect that you may be suffering from OSA now that you’ve read about some of the lesser known sleep apnea symptoms then don’t suffer in silence. Instead, get help at our dental sleep apnea clinic in Melbourne. Our team lead by Dr Damian Teo are passionate about helping people just like you.
We use the latest oral appliance therapy to treat OSA and make sleep apnea a condition you ‘used to have’. Just imagine waking up feeling refreshed and ready to face whatever the new day brings.
But don’t just imagine it – get in touch with Melbourne Dental Sleep Clinic today and take the first step to normal healthy sleep.