Did you know excessive snoring is linked to an increased risk of heart disease? That’s just one of a handful of adverse side effects accompanying an unhealthy sleeping habit of regular snoring. Fortunately, you can take action sooner than later when simple snoring transitions into something more serious like sleep apnea. Even if you’re sure you suffer from one or the other, it can still be confusing to know whether or not you have sleep apnea. We’re here to help clear things up. Keep reading to learn the key differences between snoring vs sleep apnea.
Snoring vs Sleep Apnea
Most people think of snoring and sleep apnea as one and the same. Though they both result in disrupted sleep, they are two different conditions.
Snoring: The Annoying Truth
Snoring is usually just a nuisance and is not harmful to your health. It occurs when air flows through the relaxed tissues in the back of the throat, causing the tissues to vibrate. This vibration produces the characteristic snoring sound. This can result from obesity, alcohol consumption, medications, and other factors.
Sleep Apnea: A Serious Matter
Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing for short periods during sleep. This can be due to a blockage in the airway or a problem with the nervous system. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and other complications.
Two Types of Sleep Apnea
There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. The primary difference is in the cause.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Most cases of OSA are caused by airway blockage, such as when the tissues in the back of the throat collapse during sleep. This blockage can occur due to various factors, including obesity, large tonsils, and a small jaw.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
CSA is often caused by problems with the brain’s ability to control breathing. This can be due to various factors, including certain medical conditions like heart failure and stroke.
The Treatments for Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Treatment options for snoring and sleep apnea include lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and quitting smoking, sleep position changes, and mouthpieces or nasal strips. Snoring tips include sleeping on your side or stomach instead of your back.
However, some severe cases of sleep apnea are treated with more aggressive measures, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which helps keep the airway open during sleep.
Treatment can also include using mandibular advancement devices, like oral appliance therapy (OAT), which moves the lower jaw forward to help keep the airway open.
Surgery is also an option for sleep apnea, but it is generally reserved for cases that do not respond to other treatments.
What You Need To Do
Now that you understand the difference between snoring vs sleep apnea, it is now important to determine what you are experiencing. People with sleep apnea may snore, but not all people who snore have sleep apnea.
If you snore and are also experiencing daytime sleepiness, headaches, or other symptoms, you should see a doctor and get a diagnosis as soon as possible. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems, so don’t wait and book a consultation now!
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