What are the symptoms and causes of sleep apnea?

This question was asked in Worcester, Massachusetts on 07/23/2012.
What are the symptoms and causes of sleep apnea?

Doctors Answers (4)

Farhad Sigari, MD, FACS
Answered on: 7/27/2012

Symptoms of sleep apnea include: morning headache, daytime somnolence, fatigue, memory impairment, mood disorder, witnessed apneas, sexual dysfunction, reflux, etc The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea in which part of the upper airway (usually in combination with the tongue and soft palate) cause an anatomical obstruction while lying flat. This causes the patient to either stop breathing or to take a shallow breath.

Syed Nabi, M.D.
Answered on: 7/25/2012

Symptoms: Fatigue, tiredness, insomnia, depression, anxiety, sleepiness, etc Cause: Airway narrowing during sleep as the body relaxes. Weight contributes, but not the sole reason for airway collapse.

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 7/24/2012

The symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, night time urination, daytime sleepiness, fatigue and, of course, apnea or cessation of breathing while asleep. There is often a history of waking up gasping for breath with a feeling of drowning. The cause for sleep apnea (and I assume you are referring to obstructive sleep apnea) is when the tongue and soft palate collapse and obstruct airflow to the lungs. Sleep apnea is often familial. If you have sleep apnea then there is a high chance that your mother, father, brother or sister have it as well.

Richard J. Schumann Jr., MD
Answered on: 7/24/2012

The symptoms of sleep apnea are many but usually encompassed by witness recurrent sleep disordered breathing including snoring and apneas spells of 10 seconds or greater that usually result in oxygen desaturation in the blood. This can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness due to arousals associated with these pathologic breathing pattern, a dry mouth, loss of memory and decreased concentration, leg swelling and nocturnal shortness or breath. The causes are usually increased collapsibility of the upper airway due to narrowing or with the aging process, abnormal anatomy of the airway including a low lying palate, large tonsils and tongue and jutting or underdeveloped lower jaw. This entity can be treated effectively with CPAP or BIPAP and weight loss when appropriate.