Did you know that regularly waking up with a sore throat could be a sign of a more serious issue, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)? Because it occurs while sleeping, most people with OSA are unaware they’re experiencing it.
In striving to consistently provide the best internal medicine in Tarzana, California, Dr. Samuel I. Fink takes great care in ensuring that patients receive outstanding comprehensive primary care for a full range of conditions.
When it comes to obstructive sleep apnea, awareness of the symptoms is key to getting a timely diagnosis and effective treatment. Doing so not only reduces complications for people living with OSA, but also improves quality of life.
In this blog post, we explain the link between a sore throat and OSA and provide tips to improve sleep quality.
What is obstructive sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by repeated episodes of shallow breathing or pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes, often leading to loud snoring and gasping for air.
OSA disturbs your sleep throughout the night, preventing you from getting a deep, restorative night’s rest. As a result, it’s common to feel tired during the day and experience excessive daytime sleepiness. Irritability and difficulty concentrating are other symptoms.
Link between sleep apnea and sore throat
When your airway becomes partially or completely blocked during sleep, you instinctually breathe through your mouth, which can dry out and irritate your throat. This irritation often results in a sore throat upon waking. In fact, waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth is a telltale sign of OSA.
Common obstructive sleep apnea myths
While loud snoring is a common sign of OSA, being a loud snorer doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea. If you snore loudly and have other symptoms, such as daytime sleepiness or a morning headache, you may have sleep apnea.
Additionally, it’s a common misconception that OSA only occurs in overweight people. While overweight and obesity increase the risk for sleep apnea, it also affects people who are not overweight.
Tips for alleviating symptoms
While seeking professional help is crucial, a few lifestyle changes can help improve sleep quality and alleviate symptoms of OSA:
- Reach and maintain a healthy weight
- Sleep on your side
- Establish a consistent sleep schedule
- Avoid alcohol before bedtime
- Practice good sleep hygiene
Proper diagnosis and treatment of OSA are essential for maintaining overall health and well-being. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious health complications, including hypertension, heart disease, and stroke.
Seeking evaluation for sleep apnea
If you frequently wake up with a sore throat or notice other signs of sleep apnea, a comprehensive evaluation, which involves a sleep study, can provide insight. Once diagnosed, treatment with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is effective at managing sleep apnea.
Don't let a sore throat ruin your mornings any longer. If you suspect you have obstructive sleep apnea, schedule a visit with internal medicine specialist Samuel I. Fink, MD, for a thorough evaluation and sleep study.
Call the office or request an appointment through our website today. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve your sleep and protect your health.