Sleep apnea is characterized by several breathing difficulties. The airway may be impacted by genetic factors, such as an overlarge tongue, or it may be compressed by body weight. Shortness of breath is often reported by sleep apnea sufferers, especially the overweight.
Sleep apnea researchers are divided on whether or not apnea can cause shortness of breath during the day, so you should tell your doctor if you have this. It may be indicative of a respiratory, autoimmune, or cardiac condition.
Shortness of breath can also be caused by reflux or esophageal spams. These are at least indirectly related to sleep apnea. If the patient is overweight, breathing difficulty may even lead to anxiety or panic attacks.
During sleep, the body will wake itself up if oxygen deprivation is detected. This process can happen as many as 30 times per hour of sleep in severe cases. Naturally, these constant interruptions leave the patient tired, irritable, and subject to headache during the day.
Causes of sleep apnea include obesity, drinking and smoking habits, neck circumference, and being male—sleep apnea is more common in men. Obviously, there are lifestyle changes you can make to get yourself out of the risk area. Try to lose weight, and try to quit smoking.
For information on sleep apnea centers, contact someone from our group.