Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Common Sleep Apnea Symptoms

The most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) that you may notice include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness which is falling asleep when you normally should not, such as while you are eating, talking, or driving.
  • Waking with an unrefreshed feeling after sleep, having problems with memory and concentration, feeling tired, and experiencing personality changes.
  • Morning or night headaches. About half of all people with sleep apnea report headaches.
  • Heartburn or a sour taste in the mouth at night.
  • Swelling of the legs if you are obese.
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom at night (nocturia).
  • Sweating and chest pain while you are sleeping.
  • Reduced libido
  • Problem with excess weight
  • Quick to anger
  • Large neck ( >17” around in men,16”around in women)
  • Episodes of not breathing (apnea), which may occur as few as 5 times an hour (mild apnea) to more than 50 times an hour (severe apnea). How many episodes you have determines how severe your sleep apnea is.
  • Loud snoring. Almost all people who have sleep apnea snore, but not all people who snore have sleep apnea.
  • Restless tossing and turning during sleep.
  • Nighttime choking or gasping spells.

Older adults may normally have periods when they stop breathing during sleep, making it hard to know whether they have sleep apnea. Short lapses in breathing during sleep usually do not cause a large drop in the blood oxygen level.

Symptoms In Children:

In children, symptoms of sleep apnea depend on how old the child is:

  • In children younger than 5, symptoms include snoring, mouth breathing, sweating, restlessness, and waking up a lot.
  • In children 5 years and older, symptoms include snoring, bed wetting, doing poorly in school, and not growing as quickly as they should for their age. These children may also have behavior problems and a short attention span.

Children who have sleep apnea nearly always snore. But they may not appear to be excessively sleepy during the day (a key symptom in adults). The only symptom of sleep apnea in some children may be that they do not grow as quickly as they should for their age.

Call your health care provider 416-876-2544 if you have excessive daytime sleepiness,or if you or your family notice obstructive sleep apnea symptoms.

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