Symptoms and Severity of Sleep Apnea

People with OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) have higher risk of heart complication regardless of age, medical history and current health state. AHI (Apnea–Hypopnea Index or Apnoea–Hypopnoea Index)  is used to indicate the severity of sleep apnea during sleep. It is recorded as the average of apneas (pauses in breathing) and hypopneas (shallow breathing) per hour during sleep. The severity of OSA is categorized as follows:

  1. Minimal to None: AHI is less than 5 per hour
  2. Mild Sleep Apnea: AHI is greater than 5, but less than 15 per hour
  3. Moderate Sleep Apnea: AHI is greater than 15, but less than 30 per hour
  4. Severe Sleep Apnea: AHI is greater than 30 per hour

Common symptoms of sleep apnea

Identifying the symptoms and severity of sleep apnea is the first step towards a successful treatment. The most familiar sign of sleep apnea is usually observed by others around you, and that is snoring. But not everyone snoring has sleep apnea, in addition to snoring, take note of these additional symptoms too such as:

  • Snoring with gasping or choking sounds while sleeping
  • constant tiredness even after enough sleep
  • poor concentration during the day
  • morning headaches
  • depressed mood, irritability or depression
  • night sweats
  • weight gain
  • lack of energy during the day
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Trouble concentrating
  • forgetfulness
  • Lack of sexual desire
  • Frequent need to urinate at night
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Insomnia due to difficulty staying asleep
  • Waking up with dry mouth or a sore throat

A common misconception is that sleep apnea affects only the older and overweight people. In fact, anyone can have sleep apnea, regardless of age, gender or body type. However, there are risks factors that may increase the possibility of having a sleep apnea.

  1. Obesity, the risk of having sleep apnea increases the amount of excess body weight.
  2. Old age, sleep apnea occurs often with older people, especially past 60 years old.
  3. Males have twice the risk compared to women on having OSA.
  4. Having a large neck size will have more fatty tissue that can block your airway.
  5. Smoking and taking alcoholic drinks before going to bed.
  6. High blood pressure and family history

The AHI Scale is typically for adults only because it is rare for children to have OSA. Knowing the risks involved will greatly help in optimization of the sleep therapy prescribed to you.

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