Sleep apnea is easy to treat, once it’s been diagnosed. But it’s hard to diagnose because it occurs while you are sleeping. Typically, when your breathing stops, oxygen levels drop in your blood and in your tissues. And when your brain senses the problem, it wakes you up just enough to restore breathing.
Normally, you won’t be aware of wakening at all, even though your blood oxygen may drop as low as 60% (doctors consider anything below 90% to be serious). But if you do awake during one of these low oxygen episodes, you may notice certain symptoms.
Low Oxygen Symptoms You Can See
If you have very low oxygen levels, you might have a bluish tint to your lips, the skin below your fingernails, or elsewhere. If other people observe this, or if you observe this in the mirror after waking, it’s a sure sign that your oxygen saturation is very low.
Low Oxygen Symptoms You Can Feel
Your body has awakened you because of your low oxygen levels. It’s trying to get more oxygen into the body, and that means very specific mechanisms are being used. You may be gasping or hyperventilating. Your heart may also be racing.
You will likely have a headache due to low oxygen levels. Dizziness is also a common effect of low oxygen levels. If you try to stand up, but find you’re too dizzy, low oxygen may be to blame.
How Low Oxygen Affects Your Thinking
Your brain is one of the most sensitive tissues when it comes to oxygen deprivation. When it’s been affected, it may not be working correctly when you awaken. It’s normal to experience disorientation. You may not know where you are, who you are, or what you’re doing.
If it takes you more than just a moment to orient yourself, you may be suffering from low oxygen.
How to Deal with Low Oxygen
Low oxygen levels can be very serious. If symptoms associated with low oxygen levels don’t begin to resolve immediately or seem to be worsening, you or someone with you should call 911.
If you have repeated bouts of low oxygen upon awakening, you likely have sleep apnea. If you are looking for sleep apnea treatment in Philadelphia, please call (610) 272-0828 for an appointment with a sleep dentist at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell today.