In the United States, untreated sleep apnea is a major health concern. For instance, it’s estimated that 22 million Americans have sleep apnea and 80% of these cases aren’t diagnosed. As sleep apnea goes undiagnosed and untreated, the risks for other health issues such as diabetes, obesity, heart attack, and stroke increase significantly. If those with undiagnosed sleep apnea were able to get diagnosed and treated, they can avoid a wide range of other health issues.

At SoBe Dentist, we want to help more people get diagnosed and treated for sleep apnea so they can improve their overall health and quality of life. Discover the 7 signs of sleep apnea that you shouldn’t ignore. 

1. Loud Snoring

Snoring is one of the biggest indicators that you have sleep apnea. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t think that snoring is a serious problem. This is all thanks to snoring being depicted as a funny noise in movies and TV shows. Snoring isn’t something you should laugh about though. Snoring is the sound your throat makes when the airway is obstructed. Usually, if you only snore when you’re sick, you don’t have much to worry about. However, if you’re snoring night after night, this is an indicator that something larger is going on.

Snoring occurs when the airway is narrow. It’s a result of air having a difficult time passing through and the sound comes from the vibrations in the throat. In most sleep apnea cases, the soft tissue such as tongue, throat muscles, and muscles in the top of the mouth relax when you drift off to sleep, and they collapse into the airway. This can either fully or partially obstruct the airway. With sleep apnea, the airway becomes fully obstructed.

Obstruction can also be a result of drinking alcohol, taking relaxants, nasal problems, sleep position, mouth anatomy, or sleep deprivation.

2. Choking, Gasping or Coughing During Sleep

If the soft tissue collapses into the throat and obstructs the airway, oxygen will stop traveling to your brain which will alert your brain to wake up to start breathing again. In this process, you may choke, gasp, or cough to catch your breath and start breathing again. Usually, people don’t remember doing this during sleep because they go back to sleep immediately after. These events aren’t known until a sleep partner witnesses it happening. If anyone has ever told you that you wake up choking, coughing, or gasping for breath during the night, you need to get a sleep test immediately.

3. Morning Headaches

When your airway becomes obstructed repeatedly throughout the night, your body will experience a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream. Instead, there will be a buildup of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. The buildup can cause the blood vessels in the brain to increase in size. The larger blood vessel size increases the blood flow to the brain which puts extra pressure on the brain. As a result, headaches occur. You will notice these headaches first thing in the morning. If you wake up with a headache almost every morning, it’s a rise for concern.

stressed out man sits at a table with coffee, tired

4. Daytime Sleepiness

Sleep apnea causes the body to repeatedly wake up hundreds of times throughout the night. The constant disruption of sleep to catch your breath can cause you to not get the restorative deep sleep you need to feel energized during the day. As a result, you will feel sleepy and tired during the day. Those with sleep apnea often feel the need to nap during the day or even doze off regularly while watching tv, driving, or operating machinery. Feeling tired all the time is not normal and can result in deadly consequences.

5. Dry Mouth in the Morning

If you have a narrow airway and/or obstructed nasal passages, your body will adapt by sleeping with your mouth open. As you breathe with your mouth open all night, it will become very dry. In the morning, it’s common to wake up with a dry mouth if you have sleep apnea or an obstructed airway. You might also experience a sore throat too.

6. Difficulty Falling Asleep

If you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing during sleep, and eventually, your brain will begin to correlate sleep with life-threatening experiences. As a result, you can suffer from severe insomnia and have difficulty falling and staying asleep. This is because your brain knows that if it goes to sleep you will stop breathing. As a coping mechanism, your brain will make it difficult to fall and stay asleep as a way to prevent you from stopping breathing.

7. Difficulty Concentrating

The last sign of sleep apnea you shouldn’t ignore is difficulty concentrating during the day. Not only is sleep important for physical energy levels, but also mental energy levels. When you don’t get enough deep sleep at night, your brain doesn’t have the time it needs to restore itself. As a result, it will be more difficult to concentrate on things you need to focus on during the day. You may also experience memory problems.

Get Sleep Apnea Treatment In Miami Beach

If you have experienced any of the signs listed above, there is a good chance you have sleep apnea. Our first recommendation is to take a sleep test. Dr. Escoto can help refer you to a home sleep testing service. Once you receive a diagnosis, we can meet with you in our Miami Beach dental office to discuss our different sleep apnea treatment options. Once you start wearing your custom oral appliance every night, the symptoms of sleep apnea will go away and your quality of life and overall health will improve.

To learn more about sleep apnea treatment in Miami Beach, FL, please contact our dental office at (305) 535-2225 today.