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Does Sleep Apnea Cause Fatigue

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Sleep Apnea, Causes,Signs and Symptoms, DIagnosis and Treatment.

If youre actively treating sleep apnea and continuing to battle fatigue, youre not alone. In CPAP users, this can happen in 5 to 55 percent of patients, according to a study published in September 2016 in the journal Sleep Medicine Clinics. The researchers suggest sticking to CPAP therapy, if youre using it improving your sleep habits, which are worth another look asking your doctor if any of your medications are interfering with your sleep and figuring out if you have another underlying condition thats contributing to your fatigue, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism. You should also consider being evaluated for other sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy or restless legs syndrome.

Together, youll get to the bottom of it and feel energized in the future.

How Many People Are Getting In Car Accidents Because Of Sleep Apnea

There are some interesting facts about sleep apnea, like that people with sleep apnea are at twice the risk of having a car accident. According to one 2004 study, treating all United States drivers suffering from sleep apnea would save $11.1 billion in collision costs and save 980 lives annually. The correlation between obstructive sleep apnea and driving incidents isnt too surprising and short sleep duration are some of the independent predictors of increased crash risk in people with sleep apnea.

Further, medical patients utilized 23% to 50% more medical resources prior to a sleep apnea diagnosis, and studies show undiagnosed moderate to severe sleep apnea in middle-aged adults may cause $3.4 billion in additional medical costs in the United States.

What Happens When You Stop Breathing

When you stop breathing, your heart rate also tends to drop the longer your body is deprived of oxygen. Then, your involuntary reflexes cause you to startle awake at the end of that period of not breathing. When this occurs, your heart rate tends to accelerate quickly and your blood pressure rises.

These are changes that take place acutely when you stop breathing. However, your body starts to experience chronic effects if you experience frequent apnea. Data suggests increased risk, particularly when you stop breathing roughly 30 times or more per hour. But there is likely a risk at even lower frequency rates.

For example, your blood pressure tends to go up, your heart walls thicken due to increased workload and the structure of your heart changes. It tends to become stiffer and less flexible because there are more fibrous cells growing in between the muscle cells.

All of those things increase the risk that you can have either atrial or ventricular arrhythmias. They also tend to reduce the function of the heart so that its less efficient at pumping blood.

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Dry Mouth Or Sore Throat

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, people with sleep apnea tend to breathe through their mouth while sleeping, which dries up their saliva.

âDry mouth upon waking is another common symptom, as a result of excessive breathing through the mouth while asleep,â Jyoti Matta, MD, medical director of the Center for Sleep Disorders at Jersey City Medical Center, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

Sleep Apnea Detection And Correction

Fatigue Or Sleep Apnea, What Does It Mean For Drivers

If you suspect sleep apnea to be behind your fatigue, make sure to have your physician rule it out. After evaluating your medical and family histories and performing a physical exam, sleep apnea is ultimately diagnosed from a sleep study performed by a sleep specialist.

Upon a sleep apnea diagnosis, there are a variety of treatment solutions. They include:

  • Lifestyle Changes These include avoiding alcohol, stopping smoking, losing weight if overweight or obese, sleeping on your side to keep the throat open and keeping nasal passages open at night with nose sprays, allergy medications or a specially designed spring-loaded bandage.
  • Mouthpiece A mouthpiece is a custom-fitted device made by a dentist or orthodontist that adjusts the lower jaw and tongue to help keep the airway open during sleep.
  • Breathing Devices Continuous positive airway pressure is the most common treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnea in adults. A CPAP machine uses a mask that fits over the mouth and nose, or just over the nose. The machine gently blows air into the throat to stop the airways from becoming narrowed or blocked during sleep.
  • Surgery Some people who have sleep apnea require surgery to widen breathing passages. The procedure typically involves removing, shrinking or stiffening excess tissue in the mouth and throat or resetting the lower jaw.

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What To Think About

If you are thinking about having surgery to treat sleep apnea, talk with your doctor about having a sleep study done first.

Experts typically suggest that you try continuous positive airway pressure before considering surgery.

Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty uses a laser to perform surgery. It is sometimes used to treat mild to moderate sleep apnea, although not all people benefit. This surgery is not recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to treat sleep apnea.footnote 15

What Are The Treatments For Sleep Apnea

Conservative treatments: In mild cases of obstructive sleep apnea, conservative therapy may be all that is needed.

  • Overweight persons can benefit from losing weight. Even a 10% weight loss can reduce the number of apneic events for most patients. However, losing weight can be difficult to do with untreated obstructive sleep apnea due to increased appetite and metabolism changes that can happen with obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Individuals with obstructive sleep apnea should avoid the use of alcohol and certain sleeping pills, which make the airway more likely to collapse during sleep and prolong the apneic periods.
  • In some patients with mild obstructive sleep apnea, breathing pauses occur only when they sleep on their backs. In such cases, using a wedge pillow or other devices that help them sleep in a side position may help.
  • People with sinus problems or nasal congestion should use nasal sprays or breathing strips to reduce snoring and improve airflow for more comfortable nighttime breathing. Avoiding sleep deprivation is important for all patients with sleep disorders.

Hypoglossal nerve stimulator: A stimulator is implanted under the skin on the right side of the chest with electrodes tunneled under the skin to the hypoglossal nerve in the neck and to intercostal muscles in the chest. The device is turned on at bedtime with a remote control. With each breath, the hypoglossal nerve is stimulated, the tongue moves forward out of the airway and the airway is opened.

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What Should I Know About Fatigue

What is the Definition of Fatigue?

Fatigue is generally defined as a feeling of lack of energy and motivation that can be physical, mental or both. Fatigue is not the same as drowsiness, but the desire to sleep may accompany fatigue. Apathy is a feeling of indifference that may accompany fatigue or exist independently. In addition, individuals often describe fatigue using a variety of terms including weary, tired, exhausted, malaise, listless, lack of energy and feeling run down.

How Common is Fatigue?

Fatigue is common. About 20% of Americans claim to have fatigue intense enough to interfere with living a normal life. A physical cause has been estimated to be responsible 20% to 60% of the time, while emotional or mental causes comprise the other 40% to 80% of cases of fatigue. Unfortunately, fatigue can occur in normal individuals that experience intense physical or mental activity .

However, in contrast to fatigue that occurs with some diseases and syndromes, normal fatigue in healthy individuals is quickly relieved in a few hours to about a day when the physical or mental activity is reduced. Also, people occasionally experience fatigue after eating , which can be a normal response to food, especially after large meals and this may last about 30 minutes to several hours.

1. Have severe chronic fatigue for at least six months or longer with other known medical conditions excluded by clinical diagnosis and

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Obstructive Sleep Apnea Classified By Severity

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Obstructive sleep apnea causes apneic events that reduce blood flow to the brain. When this happens, the brain gets a signal to partially awaken because the body needs to breathe.

After you wake up, you might experience loud gasping, choking, or snorting sounds because you are taking breaths to fight the obstruction. Once the breath is taken and the brain returns back to sleep mode, the process starts up again. This process might occur a few times a night or up to 100 times, depending on the severity of the apnea.

OSA is classified as mild, moderate, or severe.

  • Mild OSA: People with mild OSA have 514 breathing apneic events in one hour.
  • Moderate OSA: With moderate OSA, a sufferer will experience 1530 episodes in an hour.
  • Severe OSA: The person will experience 30 or more episodes in an hour.

Even though mild sleep apnea causes fewer interruptions than moderate or severe OSA, 5 to 14 interruptions in breathing per hour are still a lot for your sleep to be interrupted and for you to stop breathing.

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Overcoming Sleep Apnea My 40

I am a 52-year-old male, married, and the father of a four-year old child. I am currently a manager for a government agency and supervise nine employees, thanks to successful treatment of my sleep apnea. Life before treatment was not as good.

I was finally diagnosed with sleep apnea in 1993, the result of my spouses complaints about my snoring, but it was not appropriately treated until four years later. Symptoms of my apnea included daytime sleep attacks and intense fatigue, depression, weight gain, memory problems, inability to concentrate, and more. Needless to say, untreated sleep apnea affected every aspect of my life.

As far back as high school and college, I remember I was always tired. Photos of me even as a young child reveal dark circles under my eyes. No matter how much sleep I got, I was still tired. I suffered from a deviated septum and engorged turbinates, the nasal airways. These problems together nearly closed my right nasal passage and, I think, contributed to my breathing difficulties.

Yet by 1975, my last year in teaching, I was constantly so tired and sleepy that I simply could not cope with the demands of the 450 students I saw weekly. Until this point I had been able to hide the problem from others, a problem I believed was of my own creation. Moreover, I thought no one else had this problem, no one could understand itoreven believe I had a problem, if I were to explain it. As my ability to cope diminished, personal setbacks mounted.

Or so I thought.

Frequency Of Each Complaint Before And After Pap

At baseline, similar proportions of patients with good PAP adherence and inadequate treatment reported each complaintsleepiness, fatigue, tiredness, and lack of energyas their most important symptom. However, at follow-up, each symptom was significantly less common among PAP-adherent subjects than among inadequately treated subjects . Repetition of these analyses using different thresholds to define inadequate CPAP adherence instead of 5 h per night did not change the above findings to an appreciable extent. The one possible exception was for lack of energy at follow-up, which no longer differed significantly between PAP-adherent and inadequately treated patients when poor adherence was defined as < 4 h per night.

After PAP treatment, lack of energy retained its position as the most important symptom, relative to sleepiness, tiredness, and fatigue, for the 183 PAP-adherent patients we studied. The percentage of these patients who said that lack of energy most affected their ability to accomplish what they wanted showed no change . The percentage who said that lack of energy was their worst problem also showed little change , as did the percentage who said that lack of energy was the problem they most desired to be cured .

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What It Is Its Risk Factors Its Health Impacts And How It Can Be Treated is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

Sleep apnea is a condition marked by abnormal breathing during sleep. People with sleep apnea have multiple extended pauses in breath when they sleep. These temporary breathing lapses cause lower-quality sleep and affect the bodys supply of oxygen, leading to potentially serious health consequences.

Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders in the United States. It can affect children and adults and people of both sexes, although it is more common in men.

Because of sleep apneas prevalence and potential health impact, it is important for people to be aware of what sleep apnea is and to know its types, symptoms, causes, and treatments.

How Do Doctors Diagnose Sleep Apnea

Daytime Exhaustion and Sleep Apnea

Your doctor will want to rule out any other possible reasons for your symptoms before they diagnose you with sleep apnea. To do this, theyâll:

  • Ask if you take any medications, such as opioids or other drugs that could affect your sleep
  • Look for other medical reasons or conditions that could cause symptoms
  • Ask if youâve traveled recently to altitudes higher than 6,000 feet. These locations have low oxygen, which could cause symptoms of sleep apnea for a few weeks after traveling.

A variety of things help determine sleep apnea:

Medical history. Your doctor will look at your signs and symptoms based on the information you give them. Theyâll review your familyâs history for sleep apnea or other sleep disorders, whether you have a risk factor for the condition, and if you have any complications of undiagnosed sleep apnea .

Physical exam. Your doctor will perform a physical exam on you to look for signs of other conditions that can heighten your risk for sleep apnea . They may also look at your jaw size and structure as well as the size and position of your tongue.

Theyâll check your lungs, heart, and neurological systems to see if you have any common problems related to sleep apnea.

Sleep studies. Your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist or a center for a sleep study. You can do these studies in a special facility or at home. The tests will:

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What Is Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that happens when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night.

If its not treated, sleep apnea can cause a number of health problems, including hypertension , stroke, cardiomyopathy , heart failure, diabetes and heart attacks. Untreated sleep apnea can also be responsible for job impairment, work-related accidents and motor vehicle crashes, as well as underachievement in school in children and adolescents.

There are two types of sleep apnea, obstructive and central:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common of the two. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs as repetitive episodes of complete or partial upper airway blockage during sleep. During an apneic episode, the diaphragm and chest muscles work harder as the pressure increases to open the airway. Breathing usually resumes with a loud gasp or body jerk. These episodes can interfere with sound sleep, reduce the flow of oxygen to vital organs, and cause heart rhythm irregularities.
  • In central sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center. Central apnea is related to the function of the central nervous system.

Viral Or Bacterial Infection And Fatigue

Symptoms: Fatigue, fever, head or body aches.

Fatigue can be a symptom of infections ranging from the flu to HIV. If you have an infection, youll probably have other symptoms like fever, head or body aches, shortness of breath, or appetite loss.

Infections that may cause fatigue include:

  • Flu

Symptoms: Chronic fatigue, deep muscle pain, painful tender points, sleep problems, anxiety, depression

Fibromyalgia is one of the more common causes of chronic fatigue and musculoskeletal pain, especially in women. Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are considered separate but related disorders. They share a common symptom: severe fatigue that greatly interferes with peoples lives.

With fibromyalgia, you may feel that no matter how long you sleep, its never restful. And you may feel as if you are always fatigued during daytime hours. Your sleep may be interrupted by frequent waking. Yet, you may not remember any sleep disruptions the next day. Some people with fibromyalgia live in a constant fibro fog a hazy feeling that makes it hard to concentrate.

Constant daytime fatigue with fibromyalgia often results in people not getting enough exercise. That causes a decline in physical fitness. It can also lead to mood-related problems. The best way to offset these effects is to try to exercise more. Exercise has tremendous benefits for sleep, mood, and fatigue.


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Low On Energy Get Care At Home

If left untreated, the underlying cause of your persistent fatigue may go undetected. So, when youre feeling overly tired, it is best to consult a medical professional as soon as you can. DispatchHealth can help you find the root cause of your ongoing fatigue or weakness. Our on-demand service focuses on bringing personalized, same-day medical care to your home, helping you receive comprehensive medical attention without the stress of arranging for transportation or waiting in a germy room. We treat a wide range of serious conditions, and were in-network with most insurances.

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