Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
First See Your Physician
If you snore heavily and are interested in trying dental appliance therapy, it's very important that you are thoroughly examined by a physician or a sleep specialist first. The examination may involve staying overnight at a sleep study center. It's important that this examination is done first, because you may have sleep apnea without realizing it.
In a study conducted at Stanford University in California, one out of three chronic, severe snorers was found to have a harmful degree of sleep apnea.
- Severe Snoring
Most people with obstructive apnea are likely to snore between apnic events. Not everyone who snores has OSA, but severe snoring combined with one or more of the following symptoms is a good indication that that person should see their physician and request a sleep study.
- Dry, sore throat and nasal passages in the morning upon awakening. A look in the mirror may reveal a swollen and red uvula.
- Sore jaws, headaches, neck aches and ear aches on awakening in the morning. These are symptoms of Temporomandibular Disorders. Please refer to our Periodontal Practice web site for more information on TMJ.
- Multiple sudden awakenings during sleep. When a person ceases to breath during sleep, he or she may wake up, often with a gasp, many times a night. This may happen literally hundreds of times a night, or just a few dozen. Not everyone with severe OSA experiences sudden awakenings since many patients are simply aroused to a lighter level of sleep in which they regain muscle tone in the throat so that breathing may begin again.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness. Even if a person with sleep apnea does not awaken many times a night, he or she must continuously rise to a lighter level of sleep in order to regain enough control of the throat muscles to relieve the obstruction. This reduces the quality of the sleep. Patients with OSA often complain of waking up feeling like they had never slept at all. They often feel worse after taking a nap than they did before napping.
- Sleepiness leading to traffic accidents.
- Restless muscles during sleep. Lack of oxygen in the blood causes muscles to become restless. Persons with sleep apnea often find their legs in nearly constant motion during the night, or they may find themselves kicking in their sleep.
- Impotence, and/or lack of interest in sex. Sleep apnea has wide ranging physiological and psychological effects, including high blood pressure, slowed heart rate, changes in appetite, and sexual arousal.
- Impaired memory
- Personality changes
- Impaired concentration
- Poor job performance
- Sudden death from heart attack or stroke