How can I tell if my partner has sleep apnea? If they keep you awake with their loud snoring, it’s possible since snoring is one of the main signs of sleep apnea. The confusing part is not everyone with sleep apnea snores, and not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. If your partner snores enough to keep you awake, it would be wise to get a diagnosis, since there can be serious health consequences to sleep apnea.
OSA And Who Is Vulnerable
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is a serious sleep disorder affecting approximately 22 million Americans. It causes someone to repeatedly stop breathing during the night and can occur hundreds of times while sleeping.
The most common type is OSA due to a complete or partial blockage of the airway. The diaphragm and chest muscles work harder to open the airway, and when breathing resumes, it is accompanied by a loud gasp or a body jerk.
When this occurs night after night, your partner cannot get a sound night sleep, it reduces oxygen flow to important organs, and can also cause heart rhythm problems.
Those who are overweight and over the age of 50 are vulnerable, but even children can develop sleep apnea.
Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea
Although the person with OSA rarely knows what is happening, their partner can recognize the symptoms.
They include the following:
- Loud snoring
- Suddenly waking up choking or gasping for air
- Dry mouth and headaches in the morning
- Daytime fatigue and feeling sleepy
- Frequent urination during the night
- Trouble concentrating
- Dizziness when waking up
If your partner has these symptoms, you might also notice a period without any sounds after deep snoring, then waking up choking. This is a classic sign of sleep apnea. This can leave both of you without a good night’s sleep and experiencing sleepiness during the day.
It might be time to discuss this with your partner for your sake and for theirs.
Health Effects Of OSA
Constant sleep apnea can affect health and well being. Sleepiness during the day can lead to auto accidents, and lack of concentration can affect someone’s job.
Most importantly, the condition raises risk factors for high blood pressure and diabetes. If your partner has OSA, they are more likely to have a heart attack due to lack of oxygen. Stokes and atrial fibrillation are also associated with sleep apnea.
Being overweight increases the risk of sleep apnea, and the condition makes it more difficult to lose the weight. Memory issues are exacerbated even at an early age known as mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. Depression is another side effect.
Leaving sleep apnea undiagnosed and untreated is a mistake. You can die suddenly with sleep apnea. Celebrities like football star Reggie White, Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead, Carrie Fisher, James Gandolfini from the Sopranos, and comedian John Candy all died from factors associated with sleep apnea.
Contact Annapolis Asthma, Pulmonary & Sleep Specialists at (410) 266-1644 for a professional sleep study and evaluation at our sleep center in Annapolis, MD. Once OSA is treated, many of the troublesome physical and emotional issues improve.