If you wake up in the morning with a throbbing pain in the head and, feel as tired as you felt the previous night just before hitting the sack, you could be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. This condition could be extremely uncomfortable for your spouse or partner as well, because of the incessant snoring, choking or gasping sounds in the middle of the night.
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder wherein the upper airway passages close, thus interrupting normal breathing and depriving you of oxygen supply till the time you wake up and start breathing again. By doing so, sleep apnea causes extreme drowsiness during the day (particularly dangerous while driving), impaired functioning of the memory, irritability and lack of concentration. If that wasn’t enough, the risks of heart diseases, hypertension, glaucoma and diabetes go up as well.
While sleep study is the only way to tell you if you have sleep apnea, there are a few signs which are generally indicative of this harrowing sleep disorder.
1What to do?
Take a look at yourself at the mirror. Sleep apnea occurs when soft tissues at the very end of the mouth and the tongue fall back partially and block the air passages. A partial blockage is the thing that causes snoring.
Coupled with obesity, certain abnormalities of the neck and the head are linked with sleep apnea. These abnormalities impede proper circulation of air.
• A fat and large tongue: This one’s pretty well known. Research states that accumulated fat can also result in the tongue growing in length and girth. It also affects the normal muscle functions of the tongue, thus increasing probabilities of sagging and blocking air passage.
• A smaller maxilla (upper jaw bone) that looks disproportionate to the rest of your face. This is often the cause of under-bites.
• A smaller mandible (lower jaw bone) as compared with the rest of your face. This is often the cause of over-bites.
• A thick neck (exceeding 17 inches in males) and (exceeding 16 inches in females) makes it probable for the airway to collapse during your sleep. The increased girth of the neck may be caused by obesity (though not always).
• When the nose mid wall becomes crooked (a condition known as deviated septum), the nasal air passage can get severely obstructed.