How Do You Know If Your Partner Has Sleep Apnea?

Posted on: 3 December 2019

Sleep apnea is a deadly disease, in part because it's nearly impossible for the person who has it to realize that they do. Symptoms only manifest in one's sleep, after all. So if you think that your loved one has a problem, you're doing them a service by being aware of what they sound like during their sleep and being concerned about them. Here's what you need to know about sleep apnea and some tips on whether or not your loved one has it.

It Isn't Snoring

It's important to note that snoring and sleep apnea are not the same thing at all. Sleep apnea isn't bad snoring. Sleep apnea is a medical condition where the airway partially or completely closes during sleep. Snoring, in comparison, is when part of the nasal passageway or throat, like the uvula, vibrates while someone is breathing in their sleep.

With that being said, it can still be difficult to tell the difference between sleep apnea and snoring. In fact, only a doctor can legally diagnose it, and that often requires a night in a sleep lab. However, there are some signs that can point you in the direction of a potential diagnosis.

Tell-Tale Symptoms

There are a few things that your loved one may do if they have sleep apnea.

The most clear-cut sign that something isn't right is if your partner stops breathing for a few seconds at a time, then gasps, clears their airway, and repeats the process. This is an iconic sleep apnea sign. What's happening here is that the airway is closing enough that the body is being deprived of oxygen. When that goes on for long enough, warning signs go off in the brain and the brain sends a signal to the rest of the body to wake up enough to clear the airway. But once that person falls asleep again, the whole process repeats, so they're never fully able to breathe easily.

Another potential symptom is that your significant other is constantly tired. People who sleep this way don't have a deep, restful sleep, so no matter how much they get, they often wake up feeling tired.

Getting Help

If you think that your loved one has sleep apnea, you should get an official diagnosis from a doctor. As previously mentioned, this can be accomplished by being monitored overnight in a sleep clinic.

If it turns out that they have sleep apnea, your local dentist may actually be the one that can help them. Dentists can manufacture sleep apnea appliances that gently pull the lower jaw forward, keeping the airway taut and open all night long. It's that simple.

For more information, contact a dentist's office like Jerry C Hu DDS Family Dentistry LLC.