The symptoms of sleep apnea are most often seen in men who are over forty and also overweight although they can appear at any time in both women and men and are being seen increasingly in children.
The clearest symptom of sleep apnea (which is merely one of several common sleep disorders) is snoring which is difficult to spot by yourself and generally has to be brought to your attention by a sleeping partner. There are many reasons for snoring and the fact that you snore is not in itself an indication that you are suffering from sleep apnea. However, the majority of sleep apnea sufferers do snore.
The next most obvious symptom of sleep apnea is excessive daytime tiredness. Sleep apnea sufferers stop breathing frequently while asleep and the body’s natural reaction is to wake you sufficiently for you to begin breathing again, but not sufficiently for you to be aware that you are being awakened. This of course means that your sleep is constantly interrupted and therefore very light so that you are not getting the deep sleep which you need. As a consequence you grow more and more tired during the day.
If left untreated the effects of sleep apnea begin to appear and you will begin to experience additional symptoms that could include headaches (particularly in the morning), bad temper and even depression. You could also notice that you are starting to put on weight.
Yet another not quite so obvious indication of sleep apnea is an increase in blood pressure that can lead to a number of cardiovascular problems. should you be one of the increasing number of people who are now monitoring their blood pressure at home then you should pick this up quite easily but, otherwise, it will not be discovered until you attend your doctor for a routine physical.
A further symptom is that of learning difficulties and increasing difficulties with memory retention. This is once again not something which is easy for you to spot yourself but other people may well notice that you are not as fast on the uptake as you once were.
Lastly, some sufferers from sleep apnea will experience a drop in sexual function that can lead to impotency.
Each of these symptoms in isolation can of course be indicative of almost any problem you care to mention. When you start to see these symptoms appearing together however then there is a better than even chance that you are suffering from sleep apnea and you should consult your doctor and think about taking a test for sleep apnea.