Sleep apnea is quite a common problem amongst adults. It is less common amongst children, but can still occur in them. The symptoms of sleep apnea can include long pauses in breathing during sleep, snoring or snorting during sleep, sleepiness and daytime fatigue, poor concentration and attention, ironically insomnia, anxiety, irritability, headaches and problems at work. As you can see they are quite broad and can be due to many other things. This is why sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed for many years. This often leads to other health problems. Some of these problems are reversible, but some have lasting effects. Sleep apnea can also have effects on your bed partner leading to insomnia and all the effects this brings.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms.
The symptoms of sleep apnea may include:
- long pauses in breathing during sleep
- snoring or snorting during sleep
- daytime fatigue and sleepiness,
- poor concentration and attention,
- memory problems,
- headaches, and
- difficulty performing work duties.
Another way to see whether you have sleep apnea is to measure your “Snore Score”. This score as defined by the American Sleep Apnea Association gives you an indication as to whether you may have sleep apnea. If you answer yes to one or more points, your chances of having sleep apnea are increased.
- Are you a loud and/or regular snorer?
- Have you ever been observed to gasp or stop breathing during sleep?
- Do you feel tired or groggy upon awakening, or do you awaken with a headache?
- Are you often tired or fatigued during the wake time hours?
- Do you fall asleep sitting, reading, watching TV or driving?
- Do you often have problems with memory or concentration?
If you have one or more of these symptoms you are at higher risk for having obstructive sleep apnea. If you are also overweight, have a large neck, and/or have high blood pressure the risk increases even further. American Sleep Apnea Association
In addition to using the questionnaire you can also use a sleep diary to work out whether you are likely to be suffering from sleep apnea. A sleep diary records how many hours you slept, how refreshed you felt, and any night-time wakings. Your partner should also record any snorting, gasping or choking noises you make, as well as how loud and frequent your snoring is.