Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects an estimated 22 million Americans. But while most people have at least heard of the most-common symptoms (stopping and restarting breathing throughout the night and snoring) there are many symptoms you may not be aware are from sleep apnea that you should pay attention to during the day. Here are a list of surprising sleep apnea symptoms you may never have realized were caused by sleep apnea.
While it is not clear whether sleep apnea itself causes or worsens depression, it very well could be both. Depression symptoms include sadness, lack of motivation, lethargy, and loss of appetite, to name just a few. If you are feeling depressed, it could be sleep apnea related and may improve with the treatment of your sleep apnea, but you should speak to a physician or therapist to address the condition as well.
Sleep apnea can cause “unexplained” weight gain due to lack of energy during the day. This lack of energy comes because when you have sleep apnea, you wake up constantly throughout the night, awakening feeling tired and sluggish throughout the day.
Do you have diabetes or cancer? These conditions can be made worse by sleep apnea. This could be because of the low blood oxygen levels caused by the labored breathing caused by your sleep apnea.
High Blood Pressure
Did you know that sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure? It occurs because when you stop breathing, your heart rate drops and then speeds up, causing high blood pressure.
Irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia can occur when you have sleep apnea, due to your heart rate dropping as you stop breathing. In fact, a 2009 study found that a person’s risk of developing an abnormal heartbeat is 18 times higher immediately following an apnea occurrence than during regular sleep breathing.
Persons with sleep apnea have been found in studies to have lower levels of testosterone, due to reduced REM sleep time and lower deep sleep time, as well as increased sleep fragmentation and nighttime awakening.
If you have sleep apnea or are experiencing any of these symptoms and think you might have sleep apnea, contact Dr. Mingus’ office by calling 541-382-6565.