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Sleep Apnea: Symptoms & Causes

Annoyed woman covering her ears with pillows to block out snoring.

Do you know how many millions of Americans are affected by sleep apnea? Well, according to the American Association for Respiratory Care it's 18 million people who can't get a good night's sleep. So what symptoms should you keep an eye out for?

The most common symptoms include:

  • Loud, irregular snoring, followed by brief quiet periods when breathing stops (more prominent in obstructive sleep apnea)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Sore throat, dry mouth, cough
  • Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath (more common in central sleep apnea)

Because sleep apnea only occurs while you are sleeping, a family member and/or bed partner may be the first to notice these symptoms.

Call to make an appointment.

Schedule a sleep test today!

To schedule an appointment at Drexel Sleep Medicine, please call 215.482.0899.

What Causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax and cause your airways to narrow or close when you breathe in. This causes breathing to stop momentarily and can lower the level of oxygen in your blood.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the far less common central sleep apnea is caused by your brain failing to transmit signals to your breathing muscles. Heart disease is the most common cause of central sleep apnea, but a stroke can also lead to having the condition.

Sleep apnea has a variety of treatment options, but it often goes unnoticed and can lead to serious health problems.

The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.

The images being used are for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted is a model.

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