You may be suffering from sleep apnea and not even know it. This is an easy mistake to make because snoring is one of the primary symptoms of sleep apnea. On top of this, sleep apnea and snoring can be related to other conditions and the snoring that you experience is equally as disruptive between the two conditions.
While there are similarities, there are also some notable differences between the two conditions.
What causes snoring?
Snoring is essentially vibrations in the respiratory structures that happen when air movement is obstructed during sleep. Snoring can be caused by an elongated soft palate, the uvula, a large tongue, or nasal obstructions, among other things.
Although snoring is a common symptom for those with sleep apnea, not everyone with sleep apnea snores just as not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.
What happens with sleep apnea?
If you find that your breathing patterns while sleeping are abnormal and have regular pauses then you may be suffering from sleep apnea. These breathing pauses (called apneas) can occur because of a physical blockage to airflow, a lack of respiratory effort, or a combination of the two. Obstructive sleep apnea (caused by a blockage) is the most common form.
How to tell the difference between sleep apnea and snoring?
If you have sleep apnea then you may never know until someone else witnesses your breathing pauses.
If you feel fatigued during the day, and notice that your work performance, general vigilance, and ability to stay motivated have gone downhill, it may be a sign that you are experiencing sleep disruptions due to sleep apnea.
The only surefire way to determine if you have sleep apnea is to be assessed by a professional. Sleep apnea can only be diagnosed by a licensed medical professional.
What are the treatments options for sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is more than just a nuisance. It carries serious health concerns with it. Those who suffer from this condition fall out of deep sleep when their breathing pauses, resulting in poor-quality sleep. It can also trigger the release of stress hormones, change how your body uses energy, and make you feel tired and sleepy during the day. In addition, there are several potential negative health effects of inadequate sleep, such as weight gain, memory loss, skin aging, and more.
Sleep apnea may also lead to a greater risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, certain cancers, and even sudden death.
Once you've been diagnosed by a medical professional, your dentists can help you achieve a better night’s sleep with a variety of treatment options.