Symptoms of Sleep Apnoea

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The most common symptoms are:

Man sleeping and snoring loudly

Loud snoring.

Woman asleep in the office

Excessive daytime sleepiness.

Tired, sweating man

Tiredness or fatigue during the day.

Woman getting out of bed with unrefreshing sleep

Unrefreshing sleep.

Person sleeping with a blocked nose or apnoea

Apnoea observed while asleep (episodes of nocturnal asphyxia).

Person sitting on the bed and the moon

Frequent arousals.

Person with urgency to urinate during the night

Increased frequency of nighttime urination (nocturia).

Man sitting in bed in the daytime with hand on head and pain

Morning headaches.

Bear in mind that excessive daytime sleepiness is hard to measure, both objectively and subjectively, as it is a very common symptom that affects around 20% of the general population. Its severity can be assessed subjectively using different questionnaires. The most used is the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. It is very important that the healthcare professional scores the sleepiness based on clinical data.

Signs of Sleep Apnoea

Besides a compatible clinical picture, the signs that should give rise to the suspicion of SAHS are:

  • A short, broad neck.
  • A disproportionately large tongue compared to the oral cavity (macroglossia).
  • Tonsillar or tonsillar pillar hypertrophy.
  • Abnormal configuration of the hard (high-arched palate) or soft palate (enlarged and flaccid soft palate, large and swollen uvula, reduced soft palate space, etc.).
  • Skeletal alterations or maxillomandibular disproportion (retrognathia or maxillary retrusion) and dental malocclusion.
  • Regarding the nasal cavities, it is worth highlighting that the most common findings in patients with SAHS are nasal valve dysfunction, deviated septa, turbinate hypertrophy, sinonasal polyposis and adenoid hypertrophy.

Substantiated information by:

Cristina Embid
Josep M. Montserrat Canal
M Concepción Ruiz Sánchez

Published: 16 January 2020
Updated: 16 January 2020

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