Obstructive Sleep Apnea: What Are the Signs?

Affecting between 24% of men and 9% of women, obstructive sleep apnea can be a potentially life-threatening condition.

One of the most alarming statistics is that over 80% of people living with the condition are undiagnosed, posing a genuine health risk to many.

In this article, Dr. Paul Schalch Lepe first discusses the most common signs associated with the condition, which patients can use to attempt to do a preliminary self-diagnosis. If you or a loved one are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, we strongly recommend that you contact a sleep professional such as Dr. Schalch Lepe for professional diagnosis and treatment. 

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which the airway becomes blocked during sleep. Caused by an unconscious relaxation of the throat and soft tissue muscles, sleep apnea results in the temporary collapse of the airway, meaning fresh air can not enter the lungs, and old air can not be removed.

OSA can be a risk factor for serious cardiovascular conditions, such as atrial fibrillation (arrhythmia), coronary artery disease, stroke, pulmonary hypertension, as well as depression, memory loss, and even diabetes.

It is also an important cause of motor vehicle accidents and work related accidents, related to excessive daytime sleepiness.

What Causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by several factors, including:

  • Obesity and excess weight, which strain the muscles and soft tissue of the tongue, throat, and airway
  • Large neck circumference
  • Nasal obstruction, which is a common contributing factor
  • Short mandible and base of the tongue enlargement
  • Other anatomical factors in patients whose weight is within normal limits

How Do You Know if You Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

It can be very difficult to know if you have obstructive sleep apnea if you sleep alone. Signs that indicate you might be experiencing interrupted sleep caused by obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • Chronic fatigue, regardless of when you go to bed and when you wake up
  • Irritability and poor mood, which is associated with a lack of good sleep quality
  • Drowsiness and headaches in the morning
  • Forgetfulness

When sleeping with a partner, it can be easier for them to notice more obvious signs of obstructive sleep apnea, such as:

  • Loud snoring
  • Sudden gasping or choking noises during sleep
  • Cessation of breathing during sleep
  • Frequent urination at night

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment in San Diego, CA

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious issue, and if you experience any of the above signs over a period of time, or if someone notifies you that you do any of the behaviors during your sleep, you should seek a professional medical diagnosis.

An at-home sleep diagnostic test is an extremely useful tool to help identify obstructive sleep apnea and can be arranged by contacting the Silenso clinic located in the Carmel Valley area of San Diego, CA.

Dr. Schalch Lepe, an industry-leading board-certified otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist), offers the most cutting-edge, minimally-invasive, and effective treatment solutions for obstructive sleep apnea. Fortunately, there are many effective treatments for the condition, including:

  • Oral appliances
  • Inspire hypoglossal nerve stimulation
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Nasal optimization procedures (minimally invasive, office-based)

You can learn more about sleep apnea treatments at Silenso Clinic via our obstructive sleep apnea page or by arranging your friendly and informative consultation today. Simply call (858) 925-5800 or fill out this online form to get started. We look forward to helping you enhance your quality of life with better sleep and better breathing.