There is a commonly reported link between sleep apnea and fatigue in those who suffer from the condition. Having both sleep apnea and chronic fatigue can cause serious illness that could put you at risk.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when the upper respiratory airway becomes repeatedly blocked during sleep, interrupting breathing and causing a person to awake. This may occur hundreds of times during one night. When a person begins breathing again, they may snort loudly or make a choking sound.
Central sleep apnea, the second, less common type of the disorder, occurs when instability in the respiratory control center of the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe.
Both types of the disorder causing reduced oxygen levels and intense daytime fatigue, and, if left untreated, can lead to other symptoms such as depression, weight gain, memory problems, inability to concentrate, and headaches. It can also put you at risk of developing more serious symptoms such as heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Driving while fatigued also increases the risk of accidents.
The fatigue caused by sleep apnea is due to the lack of restorative sleep. The sleep cycle consists of 4 stages; however if you regularly wake up during the night in the initial stages of sleep, your body is unable to fully rest. Constant low energy and fatigue caused by regular sleep deprivation can have a debilitating physical and emotional impact on daily life. Many sufferers report how fatigue negatively affects their social life, work-life, and personal relationships.
If you are feeling constantly fatigued during the day, it may be worth investigating whether sleep apnea is the cause. A polysomnogram (PSG) is the common diagnostic test used to determine whether a person has sleep apnea, and can be conducted in a sleep center or lab, as well as using home test kits.
If sleep apnea is the cause of your fatigue, do not despair – there are a number of effective treatment options available that will help provide a solution to your fatigue and with this, improved quality of life.