Does your partner or family report that you have a snoring problem? While it’s tempting to see snoring as simply an inconvenience for anyone within earshot throughout the night, it could also be a red flag for a disorder that has real health risks in tow. Here are a few signs that your snoring is more than just snoring, and could actually be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea.
You’re Always Exhausted
Do you feel tired from the moment you wake up, even after nights when you got eight or more hours of sleep? This daytime fatigue is a common side effect of sleep apnea. Every time that you stop breathing and your brain sends your body into panic mode, it keeps you from falling into a deep sleep and getting the rest you need. People with sleep apnea may find that they take a lot of naps, have trouble concentrating, and may fall asleep during sedentary activities like watching TV, or even while driving.
Your Blood Pressure is High
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can be caused by sleep apnea. When your airway becomes obstructed and breathing stops, your brain notices that its oxygen supply has been cut off and jolts awake. To your brain, this is a life-or-death situation — so it mobilizes all of your body’s defenses to get you breathing again. To do this, it restricts your blood vessels, increasing your blood pressure in order to jumpstart your system.
Even once you’re awake and breathing normally, the effects on your blood pressure remain. People with sleep apnea have elevated blood pressure as a result.
You Wake Up With a Headache
Another common sign of sleep apnea is a morning headache. Your sleep apnea episodes may be short, but they still restrict how much oxygen reaches your brain. This kind of stress on the brain can cause persistent headaches that are difficult to trace back to the true source if you don’t know that you have sleep apnea. Chronic morning headaches that don’t seem linked to any other triggers may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea.
If you’re carrying more weight than is healthy, it could be a contributing factor to sleep apnea. A number of different things can contribute to the closing of the airway, but one of those factors is weight. People who are overweight are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea because fatty tissues build up around the neck and throat. When you sleep, the pressure of those tissues on your airway can close the airway. Worse, sleep apnea interferes with your metabolism, which can make it hard to lose weight .
If you think you might have sleep apnea, don’t wait to investigate it. It’s more than just a sleep disorder — untreated sleep apnea is associated with a number of deadly health risks. Your dentist may be able to help by providing a custom oral appliance designed to keep the airway open. Call (760) 832-7915 or contact us online to learn more.