Sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted while you sleep. Most people aren’t even aware they have sleep apnea. The sleeping partner is usually the first person to notice the signs. In obstructive sleep apnea the muscles in the airway relax as you fall asleep and do not keep the airway open as they would while you are awake despite efforts to breathe.
Common symptoms of Sleep Apnea are:
• Loud, irregular snoring, snorts, gasps or other unusual breathing sounds during sleep
• Pauses in breathing of ten seconds or greater during sleep
• Excessive daytime sleepiness
• Changes in mood, personality or behavior
• Morning headaches
Untreated sleep apnea can cause serious medical problems:
• High blood pressure
• Heart attack
• Atrial Fibrillation
• Irritability and depression
• Uncontrollable weight gain
• Decreased memory, alertness and coordination which can lead to greater risk of automobile accidents and workplace accidents
If you are having trouble sleeping, call RAMC’s Sleep Medicine Clinic for an appointment. (608) 768-6258.