Sleep apnea is not always diagnosed until later in life, if the condition is identified at all. This is due to the sleeper being unable to identify symptoms without the presence of a witness, such as a partner or spouse. Alternatively, sleep apnea may become an official diagnosis as the result of a sleep study carried out by a qualified sleep physician.
While it is difficult for the sufferer of sleep apnea to identify the potential existence of the condition, it is not impossible. There are common symptoms that disrupt sleep and may result in the sufferer waking up regularly throughout the night.
Pauses in Breathing
Although pauses in breathing are not necessarily apparent even when the sleep apnea sufferer wakes as a result, frequent waking should be cause for concern in itself. This symptom can occur over 400 times each night and often results in waking or a night plagued by light sleep.
Choking While Sleeping
If you often choke in your sleep, what feels like a tickly cough could actually point toward a sleep apnea episode. Choking may feel like a lump in the throat or feeling of irritation. The issue is often resolved when the sleeper rolls over on his or her side or sleeps on elevated pillows.
Gasping for Air
Gasping for air is similar to the choking sensation and the two may occur simultaneously. The sleeper will find it difficult to catch a breath, which can cause panic and exacerbation of symptoms. This sleep apnea symptom is the result of a blockage in the airway caused by soft tissues in the throat relaxing.
Seek treatment if you suffer any of these symptoms or other sleep disruption issues. Dr. Suway is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine (ABDSM) who offers advanced treatment solutions at the Atlanta Sleep Apnea Treatment Center.
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