You probably have heard some of the more common warning signs of the sleep disorder sleep apnea, like snoring, making gasping or choking noises, and waking up repeatedly throughout the night. But did you know that there are many other warning signs that you could have sleep apnea without even realizing it? Here are some surprising warning signs you should look out for.
Dry mouth is common in patients with sleep apnea, most likely because sleep apnea sufferers sleep with their mouths open, causing their mouths to dry out. Studies have shown that upwards of 30 percent of sleep apnea sufferers have dry mouth, so if you suffer from dry mouth this could be a sleep apnea warning sign.
Believe it or not, sleep apnea can affect your sexual health, too. A recent study found that of men diagnosed with erectile dysfunction, approximately two-thirds had obstructive sleep apnea, too. This is because men with sleep apnea have lower testosterone levels than those without, and may also have lower blood pressure, too.
Headaches in the Morning
Do you get unexplained headaches in the morning? It could be from sleep apnea. Experts don’t know why exactly, but hypothesize that it could be from decreased blood oxygen or dilated blood vessels in your brain.
Lethargy or Cognitive Impairment
Do you feel tired and sluggish during the day, even if you got what you believe is a full night’s sleep? Do you suffer from cognitive impairment (for example, struggling to do simple tasks)? This could be due to sleep apnea. You see, with sleep apnea you struggle to stay asleep during the night, waking repeatedly, often without realizing it. This causes you to struggle during the day, leaving you feeling tired and often clumsy.
If you notice any of these symptoms it doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea, but it’s worth a closer look. Sleep apnea can be very dangerous if left untreated. In addition to causing all of the problems mentioned above, it can also worsen diabetes, cause hypertension, worsen heart disease symptoms, and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and even certain cancers.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, speak to your physician about your concerns and see if a sleep study may be right for you. If you have a sleep apnea diagnosis and would like to discuss your treatment options, schedule a consultation with Dr. Abelar today.