Signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Loud snoring
- Observed episodes of breathing cessation during sleep
- Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath
- Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Awakening with chest pain
- Morning headache
- Difficulty concentrating during the day
- Experiencing mood changes, such as depression or irritability
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Having high blood pressure
When to see a doctor
Consult a medical professional if you experience, or if your partner observes, the following:
- Snoring loud enough to disturb your sleep or that of others
- Shortness of breath that awakens you from sleep
- Intermittent pauses in your breathing during sleep
- Excessive daytime drowsiness, which may cause you to fall asleep while you're working, watching television or even driving a vehicle
Many people don't think of snoring as a sign of something potentially serious, and not everyone who snores has obstructive sleep apnea. However, be sure to talk to your doctor if you experience loud snoring, especially snoring that's punctuated by periods of silence.
With obstructive sleep apnea, snoring usually is loudest when you sleep on your back, and it quiets when you turn on your side.
Ask your doctor about any sleep problem that leaves you chronically fatigued, sleepy and irritable. Excessive daytime drowsiness may be due to other disorders, such as narcolepsy.