Sleep Apnea Symptoms and Treatment
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
My husband and I have been married for 37 years this August. For most of those 37 years he has snored. Oddly enough his snoring didn’t bother me. I told him it was a reminder to me that he was there beside me and that I actually found it comforting. What I didn’t realize was that his snoring was a symptom of a bigger problem; sleep apnea.
From the Mayo Clinic and Me
I’m not a doctor but when Bill’s snoring got worse and he was getting up and down several times a night I began to suspect something else was going on. Then he started feeling exhausted but he kept pushing himself and kept going until finally he went to the doctor and said something’s wrong. After a physical showed he was in good health he mentioned to the doctor that I said he snored a lot. The doctor asked him several questions and then immediately scheduled him for a sleep study.
The Main Sleep Apnea Symptoms are….
Here’s what the Mayo Clinic says….
- Loud snoring, which is usually more prominent in obstructive sleep apnea
- Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep witnessed by another person
- Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath, which more likely indicates central sleep apnea
- Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Morning headache
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
- Attention problems
My husband was experiencing almost all of these (including the irritability-lol) but we didn’t realize they were sleep apnea symptoms.
Bill packed his bag and spent a night at the hospital for a sleep study. He was in the moderate to severe category and the doctor recommended a CPAP machine. I was worried about how he would adjust to this but he did great and is sleeping so much better now it’s amazing. No snoring. More rest. Less irritability! More energy!
Some people do have trouble adjusting to the CPAP machine but thankfully Bill didn’t. Someone asked me if it kept me awake. I honestly don’t even hear it. It’s very quiet.
Keeping it in the Family
One of our sons had similar symptoms to my husbands; snoring, tiredness, etc. He just had a sleep study done and will be getting a machine as well. I hope he does as good with it as his father did.
Other Things You Can Do
Once again I consulted the Mayo Clinic site to see if there were other things we could be doing to help with sleep apnea symptoms. I copied these and sent to my husband and he texted me back and said, “So you are saying I need to lose weight and exercise?”
I didn’t say it….The Mayo Clinic did.
- Lose excess weight. Even a slight loss in excess weight may help relieve constriction of your throat. Sleep apnea may go into complete remission in some cases if you return to a healthy weight. But sleep apnea will likely come back if you regain the weight.
- Exercise. Regular exercise can help ease the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea even without weight loss. A good goal is to try to get 30 minutes of moderate activity, such as a brisk walk, most days of the week.
- Avoid alcohol and certain medications such as tranquilizers and sleeping pills. These relax the muscles in the back of your throat, interfering with breathing.
- Sleep on your side or abdomen rather than on your back. Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue and soft palate to rest against the back of your throat and block your airway. To prevent sleeping on your back, try sewing a tennis ball in the back of your pajama top.
- Keep your nasal passages open at night. Use a saline nasal spray to help keep your nasal passages open. Talk to your doctor about using any nasal decongestants or antihistamines because these medications are generally recommended only for short-term use.
- Stop smoking, if you’re a smoker. Smoking worsens obstructive sleep apnea.
Do You Know Someone Who Snores?
If they exhibit some of the other symptoms listed above you might want to share this article with them and advise them to visit their doctor.
Share your sleep stories with us here! Do you have problems sleeping? Could it be sleep apnea?