Symptoms That You May Not Realize Are Being Caused By Sleep Apnea

Most people think snoring is the only symptom caused by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). But snoring is just one possible side effect of this all-too-common sleep disorder. Sleep apnea can cause a whole host of problems, and learning to recognize them can help you get the treatment you need to prevent serious complications associated with OSA. At Gateway Smiles & Implant Center, we help patients find the most appropriate and effective treatment for apnea so they can prevent serious complications and enjoy better sleep — and better health. See if you recognize any of these common sleep apnea-related symptoms:

Daytime drowsiness

Sleep apnea interrupts your sleep multiple times during the night, sometimes dozens of times an hour. Interruptions typically are brief — not enough to cause you to wake completely, but sufficient to prevent you from getting the deep sleep your body needs to fully rest and recover. As a result, sleep apnea frequently causes you to feel sleepy and worn out during the day. Plus, excessive drowsiness can significantly increase your risk of serious accidents.

Problems concentrating

You need to be well rested in order to focus, and when you’re not getting deep sleep during the night, your ability to concentrate decreases. Since sleep apnea causes you to temporarily stop breathing, it may also decrease the amount of oxygen your brain receives, which can also take a toll on concentration. Over time, untreated sleep apnea can interfere with your performance and success at work and at school.

Difficulty losing weight — and keeping it off

Your metabolism (your body’s ability to burn up calories) needs regular, quality sleep to function normally. People who have sleep apnea can find it difficult to lose weight and to maintain a healthy weight. Plus, sleep apnea can interfere with your body’s ability to process sugar, increasing the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, being overweight can also increase your risk for sleep apnea.

High blood pressure

Not all high blood pressure is caused by sleep apnea, but sleep apnea can increase your blood pressure — and if you already have hypertension, it can make the condition worse. That’s because sleep apnea interrupts your breathing, and over time, chronic low levels of oxygen cause blood pressure to rise in an attempt to compensate. As a result of the increased pressure, sleep apnea can also increase your risks for heart attack and stroke.

Morning headaches

Some studies show that people who have sleep apnea are also more likely to have morning headaches, although the reason why isn’t clear. Headaches could be related to the chronic and repeated low levels of oxygen that occur in sleep apnea, or they could be due to muscle clenching in your neck and shoulder area as your body struggles to start breathing again. Headaches may also be related to the poor quality of sleep and lack of restorative sleep associated with sleep apnea.

Moodiness or depression

Lack of restful sleep has a big impact on your mood, causing you to feel irritable, short-tempered, and anxious. What’s more, studies show that over time, untreated apnea can substantially increase your risk for developing depression. In one study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, researchers found about half of the OSA patients studied had symptoms of both anxiety and depression.

Nighttime urination

If you're waking up frequently in the night to urinate, it's easy to write it off as "just part of getting older." And certainly, there are other issues that cause an uptick in nighttime urination, including prostate problems and even menopause. But sleep apnea can also increase your need to urinate during sleep. Researchers aren't sure why this happens, but it could be related to a peptide (a biologic compound) released when your breathing is stopped. This peptide dilates blood vessels to increase the flow of oxygen to your organs, and it also increases urinary output. 

Reduce the symptoms — and the risks — of sleep apnea

Left untreated, sleep apnea can increase your risks for heart disease, heart attack, stroke, depression, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes, plus a lack of quality sleep can just make life a lot less pleasant. If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, the team at Gateway Smiles & Implant Center can help you find the solution that works for you. Take the next step toward better health: Book an appointment online today.

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