Sleep Apnea: What Are the Warning Signs?

Sleep Apnea Warning Signs 2

Do you take naps, wake up in the middle of the night, or snore? These could be symptoms of a common ailment known as sleep apnea. Those who suffer with a severe form of this disorder struggle to achieve quality overnight rest on a regular basis.

This may affect fine motor function and the ability to concentrate throughout the day. It may also be linked to heart health issues and breathing difficulties. Our doctors at Today’s Integrative Health are prepared to help you navigate your journey in learning about sleep apnea. 

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Typical overnight rest consists of four stages: light, deep, REM (rapid eye movement), and wake. During this time, your body commits new things learned throughout the day to long-term memory and helps you get the deep rest that restores your body systems to perform at their peak the next day.

With apnea, a person’s airway relaxes so much that their body rouses them awake to re-open the airway.

These moments can be brief and usually are not remembered in the morning. This may happen in any stage but is more likely to occur during REM, or deep sleep, when the throat muscles are most relaxed.

The arousals may happen hundreds of times per night and may cause many issues that impair how the body functions as a whole. One type of this disorder is referred to as obstructive apnea.

This is when the throat muscles can’t work as they should. Another type is called central apnea, which is when the brain fails to send signals to the breathing muscles.

Complex sleep apnea syndrome encompasses both obstructive and central apnea. Children, young adults and seniors can be diagnosed with this disorder, so be sure to watch out for common symptoms. 

Recognizing Warning Signs & Symptoms

Many symptoms overlap between the different types of apnea. The best way to find answers is to see a physician and potentially have a sleep evaluation done. You will be highly monitored overnight with sensors over your heart, lungs, and head.

Specific tests can be performed at home, while others might need to be done in a sleep center. Some of the most common symptoms include: 

  • Headaches after waking up 
  • Snoring
  • Gasping for air while sleeping 
  • Having a hard time concentrating 
  • Academic performance issues in children
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Sexual dysfunction 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Decrease in verbal skills
  • Hyperactivity in children 
  • Anxiety 

It is crucial to be seen by a doctor if you are at risk of having a disorder like sleep apnea. If left untreated, this may result in more serious health issues, including hypertension, stroke, heart arrhythmias, enlargement of the muscle tissue in the heart, heart failure, diabetes, or heart attacks.

The conditions occur due to the low oxygen levels throughout the night for an extended period of time. Carbon dioxide levels change within the bloodstream, and pressure changes in the heart may cause deterioration over time. 

Book an Appointment Today 

Functional medicine is a way to heal your body by focusing on the root problem of sleep apnea. Dr. Leo uses this approach to make changes to your lifestyle, and suggests remedies to suit what your body needs on an individual basis. Our office offers traditional and contemporary methods to restore your body to its intended state. Set up a time to visit us at 6321 Executive Blvd, Rockville, MD 20852, in the Executive office park. Your journey to healthy sleep can start today! 

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Picture of Dr. L. J. Leo

Dr. L. J. Leo

Dr. Leo began his education at the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia, where he earned his doctorate in osteopathy. He completed his internal medicine residency through the U.S. Army and had the honor of serving multiple overseas tours before retirement.

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