Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing in your sleep, usually many times in the night. It’s a common condition, but that doesn’t mean it’s harmless. In fact, untreated sleep apnea can contribute to much more serious problems, like heart disease or diabetes. apnea can contribute to much more serious problems, like heart disease or diabetes.
For this reason, it’s important to seek out a diagnosis if you have symptoms of sleep apnea. Your doctor may order a sleep study for this purpose.
Fortunately, if you have sleep apnea, treatment is available and sleeping while using a CPAP machine may reduce or even eliminate your symptoms.
Sleep Apnea in Men & Women
Both men and women can experience sleep apnea. In fact, children can too. There is certainly overlap of symptoms in all these groups, but there tend to be differences in predominant complaints. For example, men with sleep apnea may experience more physical indicators — such as waking up short of breath — whereas women may have more mental effects, like depression.
Both men and women can benefit from a CPAP and the best CPAP mask for their individual needs.
Most Common Sleep Apnea Symptoms in Men
Here are some of the typical signs of sleep apnea in men.
This is considered a classic sign of sleep apnea, though it’s important to know that not all men with sleep apnea snore. However, if your partner reports that you snore loudly — or if you wake up mid-snore and realize it — you should mention it to your doctor.
Daytime sleepiness is often a sign that you’re not getting enough rest. If you’re getting between 7 and 9 hours each night but still feeling sleepy during the day, it could mean you’re waking unknowingly several times per hour — another indicator of sleep apnea.
Breathing That Stops and Starts During Sleep
This is something that your partner may notice, and it’s really the hallmark of sleep apnea. If you have a sleep disorder, you’ll repeatedly stop and restart breathing while you sleep. This symptom often goes unnoticed since you won’t be aware of it in yourself, but a sleep study will pick it up right away.
Have you ever woken up with a gasp or a snort? Because of the oxygen deprivation that comes with disruptions to your breathing, you may find yourself gasping for air if you have sleep apnea. This can startle you awake and can be quite disconcerting. Fortunately, a CPAP can ensure a steady stream of oxygen.
Certain Complaints Upon Waking
If you find yourself frequently waking up in the morning with a dry mouth, sore throat, or headache, you may have sleep apnea. Morning dry mouth suggests that you may be spending much of your sleep time with your mouth open, when can also contribute to throat soreness. You may have a headache because of decreased oxygen during the night.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. He or she can order a sleep study, discuss the benefits of a CPAP, and explain the difference between BIPAP and CPAP therapy for sleep apnea.