How Can You Tell You Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

How Can You Tell You Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Aug 01, 2020

When we sleep, the air flows from the mouth and nose into the lungs in a rhythmic system. However, if you have a narrow throat, the airflow stops causing an interruption in your breathing. This phenomenon is known as sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is categorized in different types, but Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common. With OSA, your chest muscles and diaphragm work harder to open the airway and get the air in your lungs. Interestingly, people with OSA are usually unaware of the condition, which makes it hard to get the necessary treatment.

How can you tell you have OSA? Here, we list some of the common symptoms of sleep apnea.


Snoring is common and as annoying as it might be, it is not harmful and often is not a problem. However, at times snoring can be a sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. How can you tell the difference? Some of the snoring symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Volume. Harmless snoring is mild and subtle. For OSA, though, the snoring is deep and loud.
  • Consistency. Most times, snoring is not consistent, meaning you don’t snore every day. For most people, snoring is usually caused by chest congestion, cold, or anything that blocks the airways like sleeping in the wrong position. With OSA, however, you will snore almost every night.
  • Trouble breathing. Snoring accompanied by gasps, choking, or irregular breathing patterns.
  • Not all snoring is associated with sleep apnea. If your partner complains of loud snoring consistently, visit our dentist in Holmdel for proper diagnosis and treatment.

2.Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

If you have suffered from fatigue or struggled to stay awake during the day, you might have sleep apnea.

Most people experience occasional daytime fatigue because of a lack of sleep. However, constant exhaustion and sluggishness can be caused by sleep apnea. Excessive daytime sleepiness can interfere with your productivity and health, and it is crucial to have proper diagnosis and treatment. At times, fatigue may be accompanied by headaches and migraines.

3.Lack of Concentration

People who have Obstructive Sleep Apnea often report having problems in memory, decision-making, and concentration. In the brain, we have neurotransmitters that keep us calm and regulate our mood. According to research, people with sleep apnea have low levels of these neurotransmitters, which causes stress, irritability, low concentration, and at times depression.

What Causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

OSA happens when the muscles at the back of the throat relax too much, affecting the airflow. This interrupts the breathing patterns for ten seconds or longer. The brain senses the breathing interruption and forces you to wake up to reopen the airways. This whole process is brief and rarely do you remember it when you wake up.

Sleep apnea affects a majority of adults, but certain factors may increase your risk, such as:

  • Excess weight
  • High blood pressure
  • Narrowed airway
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Gender. OSA affects more men than women
  • Family history
  • Asthma

How is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treated?

The form of treatment used will depend on the severity of the OSA. For milder cases, our dentist in Holmdel, NJ, will recommend lifestyle changes like weight loss and exercise.

If these lifestyle remedies do not improve the condition, then other forms of treatment may be added. Certain devices like CPAP are included in your treatment. CPAP is a device worn over the nose and helps open up the airway and improve breathing.

CPAP is effective, but some people may find it cumbersome, and the dentist may recommend a mouthpiece. These oral devices work similarly to the CPAP, but more comfortable.

For severe OSA cases, surgery may be recommended.

What Happens if OSA is Untreated?

OSA can cause serious complications like cardiovascular problems due to the sudden drop in oxygen levels. Eye problems, complications with other medications, and sleep-deprived partners are problems of not getting treatment on time.

Schedule an Appointment

If you have constant fatigue, headaches, mood swings, and daytime sleepiness, visit Dipika Shah, DDS, LLC clinic for diagnosis and treatment.

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