WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP APNOEA?
Although apneas and hypopneas only occur while the patient is sleeping, the most debilitating symptoms are usually experienced during the daytime, where quality of life can be significantly impaired. Patients wake feeling unrefreshed in the mornings despite a seemingly normal night’s sleep, often with accompanying headaches. Resulting excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) can lead to a feeling of fatigue and lethargy affecting memory and concentration levels. Work situations may suffer through lost hours due to poor performance, increased likelihood of accidents, or even dismissal due to falling asleep inappropriately. EDS can also influence the patient’s mood affecting both social and domestic situations. The ability to drive safely is also diminished as individuals with uncontrolled OSAHS are up to 7 times more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident, either through lack of concentration due to sleepiness or even falling asleep at the wheel.
Some patients may also be aware of various nocturnal symptoms including intermittent episodes of waking choking, restless sleep or frequent nocturia. Often the bed partner is disturbed by the restlessness as well as excessive snoring, and witnessed apneas.
Over the long term, patients with untreated OSAHS may also present with co morbidities such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and stroke
Some sufferers experience hundreds of episodes each night, symptoms may include:
- Loud and irregular snoring
- Breathing pauses during sleep
- Choking during sleep
- Sleepiness when awake
- Headaches on waking
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depression and irritability
- Memory loss
The good news is that Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) can be treated.