What Are the Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea?

​Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep. Despite being a very big deal, sleep apnea is often passed off as just “harmless snoring,” and many times it remains undetected, undiagnosed and untreated, which is extremely dangerous. Sleep disorders affect males and females, adults and children. Leaving the condition untreated can easily put the individual at risk of some very serious health conditions. We’ll come back to that later, but for now let’s look at the warning signs of sleep apnea:

  • Frequent and loud snoring
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Choking/gasping sounds during sleep
  • Feeling tired or sleepy during daytime
  • Insomnia or restless sleep
  • Morning headaches
  • Nocturia
  • Memory loss
  • Lack of focus and concentration
  • Decreased libido
  • Irritability, etc

The problem is that, while a few of these symptoms may be noticed, some signs are only noticeable during the night when the individual is sleeping. In many cases, it may take the help of another person to identify some of these symptoms.

Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea

There are certain factors that can increase the risk of sleep apnea for most people. Common risk factors include:

  • Excess weight (BMI above 25)
  • Neck size (risk increases in people with necks over 16 inches in diameter due to more soft tissues)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure is very common among people with OSA)
  • Gender (OSA is more common in men, but the risk increases when women reach menopause)
  • Age (sleep apnea affects all ages but is more common in adults and middle-aged people)
  • Genetics (OSA can be passed down genetically)

Sleep apnea may seem like a harmless condition at first, but it can degenerate into something serious if not properly taken care of. Dr. Norman and her team can help if you feel like you may be experiencing sleep apnea. You can schedule a visit or contact us at 425-320-0702. We’ll be more than happy to help.