SYMPTOMS CONSISTENT WITH AN OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA DIAGNOSIS
The most frequent symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSA) are represented by intense snoring, excessive sleepiness during the day, wheezing during sleep and apneic episodes. Snoring can be extremely loud, disturbing partners, family members and even neighbors.
Snoring generally precedes the appearance of an excessive sleepiness during the day. Breath cessation, when witnessed by the partner, can cause worry that the breathing might not restart.
Restlessness, uncontrolled movements, excessive sweating, throat tightness, shortness of breath, esophageal reflux leading to a burning throat, need to urinate during the night, and a dry mouth are other symptoms that can occur during sleep.
The most frequent symptoms reported by patients are the sensation of tiredness and sleepiness during the day. Patients don’t feel rested when they wake up and they often struggle to get out of bed. Some patients report to feel groggy, confused and disoriented.
At first, day sleepiness occurs only when patients find themselves in boring or sedentary situations, especially in the afternoon or in the evening. Sometimes patients report difficulty in staying awake during work meetings after lunch, or when they are driving or reading. When sleepiness gets worse patients can fall asleep during a conversation, on the telephone or even while having sexual intercourse.
The most catastrophic consequence of day sleepiness is falling asleep while driving, that might lead to serious accidents.
It is essential that doctors specifically investigate the presence of drowsy driving, since its symptoms can sometimes be too mild to be spontaneously reported by the patient.
Other day-time symptoms are irritability, depression, impotence or low sexual desire, frequent headaches.
A physical examination often show an increased circumference of the neck equal to or greater than 40 cm (about 15.7 inches), pitting edema at ankles, hypertension. A physical examination of the head and the neck can show an underdevelopment of the jaw and a small backward chin.