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Are you suffering from sleep apnea?

 If sleep apnea goes untreated it could lead to serious heart problems and in some extreme cases death (Photo: iStock)

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that literally causes you to stop breathing. Some people can stop breathing for around 20 seconds repeatedly and in severe cases, more than once in the same night.

People who have a high risk of suffering from this problem are men.  Additionally, it might manifest in elderly individuals, obese people, and smokers, and sometimes family history.

If left untreated, this could lead to serious heart problems and in some extreme cases, death. As soon as you spot these signs, you need to visit your doctor for medical help:

Loud snoring

This is a common symptom of patients with sleep apnea. Although not everyone who snores has sleep apnea and not everyone with sleep apnea snores, it’s still a common observation.

The type of snoring, if you have this condition, is often very loud. Loud enough to wake your partner sleeping next to you and maybe even others around the house.

You might not know you are snoring loudly so this is a symptom that your partner, housemates and others around you can point out.

 Snoring might also be a sign of sleep apnea (Photo: iStock)
Sudden awakening episodes

The other common symptom that you might experience is sleeping interruptions. And this type is different because you will suddenly wake up with this choking, gasping or gagging feeling.

This happens because when breathing stops and restarts, it might cause your body to respond this way as your normal breathing resumes.

Dry mouth and sore throat

If you’ve noticed that you’re always waking up with a dry mouth and sore throat, it might also be a sign especially when you are seeing other symptoms as well.

When normal breathing is obstructed, you are forced to breathe through your mouth, which then reduces the amount of saliva.

This is the main reason why you’re having this symptom often.

 You will constantly wake up with headaches in the morning (Photo: iStock)
Morning dizziness

Dizzy mornings should also tell you that something is up. You might wake up tired and moody when you haven’t rested well but you should also be very alarmed if you’re feeling dizzy in the morning.

Dizziness is a sign that the oxygen supply wasn’t enough while you were sleeping.

Morning headaches

This is also another sign that is caused by the drop in oxygen levels, just like the morning dizziness.

You will realize that that you keep getting headaches even when you try to adjust your sleeping habits and get enough sleep.

Excess fatigue

Sleep apnea also prevents you from resting properly. You might notice that even though you’re going to bed early and getting up to eight hours of rest, you’re still struggling to function the next day.

With the sleep interruptions and even insomnia in some patients, you will have low energy, you have a tough time concentrating on everyday tasks and you might even find yourself dozing off excessively.

Treatment options?

You should first visit your doctor to get a proper diagnosis. If the main cause is your weight, the best treatment option might be to exercise so you can get back to a healthy weight, plus diet. For others, surgery would be recommended.

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