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    What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Posted on Thu, 12 Feb 2015 in Mental Health
Question: At times when I fall asleep in the Living Room, and my wife wakes me up to go back to bed, I feel that my heart is racing and I feel anxious. Last night it was pretty bad, and I do not know what it is. My tells me I snore, and she is concerned I have sleep apnea. The problem is that my insurance is terrible and I cannot really afford a sleep study. What I want to know is, is my racing heart and anxious feeling possibly due to sleep apnea? It is pretty scary and I do not know what to do. Any help is appreciated.

I have anxiety and panic disorder as well as hyper tension. Taking metorpolo, lininipril both for high blood pressure and celexa for anxiety
Answered by Dr. Ravi Soni 36 minutes later
Brief Answer:
These all is related to sleep apnoea

Detailed Answer:
Hi, thanks for writing through HCM.

I have read your query and understood your concerns.

Most common type of sleep apnoea is obstructive sleep apnoea which occurs due to obstruction of the upper airways. It causes repetitive pauses during sleep, despite the effort to breathe and usually associated with decrease in blood oxygen saturation.

OSA is commonly associated with snoring. Other symptoms are unexplained daytime sleepiness, restless sleep [repeated awakenings], and loud snoring (with periods of silence followed by gasps). Other less common symptoms are headache in the morning, insomnia, trouble in concentrating, mood changes like anxiety, depression, irritability, forgetfulness, racing heart beat or increased blood pressure, decreased sex drive, weight gain, heavy night sweats, frequent heart burns etc.

There is no need to go for sleep study, if the symptoms meet the OSA, diagnosis can be made clinically. If the above symptoms are present then you have OSA.
Management includes controlling the risk factors if you have any like short and stout stature, smoking, alcohol intake, facial abnormalities etc. For this you have to visit a sleep specialist who can identify the problem in you. If the problem lies in body parts, those surrounding the upper airways then it can be corrected through surgery.

Medications are available for treating the depression and anxiety associated with it. If you have daytime sleepiness then drugs like bupropion, fluoxetine, sertraline, reboxetine will help. Modafinil and adderall can also be used to counter day time sleepiness. You should also lose weight if you BMI is above 25. Blood investigation for thyroid should be done [FREE T3, FREE T4, TSH]. Lifestyle modification is required.

Most commonly used treatment now-a-days is positive airway pressure whereby a breathing machine pumps a controlled stream of air through a mask worn over the nose, mouth, or both. The additional pressure holds open the relaxed muscles. There are several variants:
1. CPAP: continuous positive airway pressure
2. VPAP: variable positive airway pressure
You can get knowledge about this devices from a sleep specialist.

Some person may be benefited by sleeping at 30 degree elevation of the upper body, like using a reclining bed.

Treatment options varies from patient to patient. You have to visit a specialist and undergo proper evaluation.

Hope I have answered your query. If you have further query then I will be happy to help.
Wish you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vinay Bhardwaj
Follow up: Dr. Ravi Soni 11 minutes later
Thank you for the answer. When I wake up and feel my heart racing and i am in panic, is my body in any real danger at that point?
Answered by Dr. Ravi Soni 10 hours later
Brief Answer:
These are anxiety symptoms

Detailed Answer:
Hi, thanks for writing gain.

The racing heart beat and other symptoms are due to anxiety. It is not dangerous situation but the symptoms are of such a severity that person feels that s/he would die. It is associated with breathing difficulty and chest tightness also.

Don't worry, just perform relaxation exercises like breathing slowly taking 5 to 6 seconds for single breath and counting backwards from 100. This will definitely help.

Take the drugs regularly that you are currently taking. Keep records of your BP fluctuations. Maintain weight, take healthy food. The drug celexa will help in controlling the panic attacks. If you are taking it for more than 1 month and the symptoms are increasing then visit your doctor or possibly a psychiatrist to increase the dose or change the medications. Other drugs that will benefit you are fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline etc.

Hope I have answered your query. If you do not have further query then close the discussion and rate the answer.

wish you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Bhagyalaxmi Nalaparaju
Answered by
Dr. Ravi Soni


Practicing since :2010

Answered : 538 Questions


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