Sleep apena is one of the most common sleeping disorders in American adults. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most dangerous. There are a few different types of sleep apnea, but all forms of sleep apnea refer to a disorder where a person's breathing repeatedly starts and stops throughout the night. Causes of sleep apnea (and their recommended treatments) can vary depending on the type, but there are a few warning signs that all adults should be on the lookout for and that would warrant a call to your doctor.
Waking Up Gasping For Air or Short of Breath
If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night gasping for breath or feeling short of breath inexplicably, then this is something that should be reported to your doctor. While waking up short of breath on occasion may be more related to something you're experiencing in your dreams than a sleep disorder, it's always best to er on the side of caution when it comes to signs of sleep apnea.
Dry Mouth and/or Sore Throat Upon Waking
Most people with different forms of sleep apena snore excessively, and as a result, they may wake up with a very dry mouth and/or a sore throat. If this is something you have been noticing and there is no other explanation for it (such as a cold or seasonal allergies), then it would be a good idea to speak with your doctor--especially if you have been told you're also snoring loudly by another person.
Excessively Loud, Disruptive Snoring
Extremely loud snoring is most common in those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the muscles of the throat relax and constrict the airways. If you've been told you snore excessively loud or if your partner has trouble sleeping as a result of your snoring, this could be a symptom of sleep apnea.
Breathing Cessation Reported By Another Person
One of the most dangerous side effects of sleep apnea is that you can actually stop breathing while you sleep. More than likely, if you suffer from sleep apnea and share a room or bed with another person, he or she may notice that you seem to cease breathing while you sleep. If you don't have anyone to witness these episodes, you will most likely only notice them when you wake up gasping for air or short of breath. These episodes need to be reported to a sleep apnea doctor immediately.