People are becoming more aware of sleep apnea and are learning the warning signs of the disease. But do you know the unusual signs that show you might have sleep apnea?
The unusual signs you might have sleep apnea include excessive nighttime urination and mouth breathing. Some people also experience a lower threshold for pain, depression, concentration problems or irritability. Because these symptoms can be linked to so many other conditions they often aren’t linked to sleep apnea.
Patients with sleep apnea experience waking to go to the bathroom often – not because they have too much to drink close to bedtime but because of a complex system of hormones in the body. When breathing stops, it puts pressure on the heart. The heart affects a hormone that controls urine production in the kidneys. More urine is produced and the sleeper has to wake up to visit the bathroom.
Mouth breathers wake up with a dry mouth and fuzzy or gummy feeling teeth. People with obstructive sleep apnea tend to breath through their mouths especially when they are gasping for air following a lapse in breathing. Treating sleep apnea usually turns mouth breathers into nose breathers while they sleep.
A common sign of sleep apnea is loud snoring. This doesn’t mean that 100% of people who snore have sleep apnea but most people with sleep apnea snore, and they snore loudly! If you snore every night and your snoring is loud enough to wake your bed partner it may be time to see your doctor.
The most definitive signal that you have sleep apnea is gaps in your breathing during sleep. Your bed partner may witness you gasp for air during a brief waking – but you will probably not remember this. If you don’t have someone to witness your breathing during sleep then look for other signs such as morning headaches and extreme daytime sleepiness.
Ignoring sleep apnea can lead to serious health consequences including early death. Treatment can be as simple as sleeping with a dental appliance that keeps the airway open throughout the night – no masks, hoses or machines needed.