Symptoms and Risk Factors of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
When blockages occur, the affected person is either jolted from sleep or in the most severe cases can stop breathing altogether. The brain senses the disruption in the ability to breathe and will wake the sleeper, although so briefly that most will not remember it but people can have up thirty disruptions such as these per night. You may have sleep apnea if you notice that you don’t have much energy and are sleepy despite getting a full night sleep, or you wake up with headaches. People that suffer from sleep apnea are almost always snorers, but they also tend to toss and turn at night, and their partners may notice that they gasp or choke while asleep.
Obesity is the main risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea, but there are others to take into consideration as well. People with a thicker neck may have also inherited a more narrow airway that contributes to getting less air. Men are also more likely to get sleep apnea than women, but a woman’s risk will increase after menopause. Age is also a factor since as we get older we lose muscle tone that can contribute to overly relaxed muscles that block the airways. Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers before bed can also cause sleep apnea, but is not indicated as a persistent cause. A family history may be indicative of developing sleep apnea disorder. Smokers are at increased risk for sleep apnea as smoking causes the upper airways to retain fluid and cause inflammation.