Though they have some similarities, sleep apnea and snoring are two different problems. Here, our Surrey dentists explain how you can tell the difference.
People who have sleep apnea are often not aware of it; they think they’re just snoring. While sleep apnea and snoring can both be related to other health problems, and can both disrupt sleep, there are some important differences between the two.
What is snoring?
Snoring is caused by vibrations in the respiratory structures. These vibrations happen as a result of obstructed air movement during sleep, and is usually caused by an elongated soft palate, the uvula, a large tongue, or nasal obstructions.
Snoring is one of the symptoms of sleep apnea, but not everyone who has sleep apnea necessarily snores.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea disorder is characterized by abnormal breathing pauses (apneas) during sleep. These apneas can happen as a result of lack of respiratory effort, a physical blockage to airflow, or combination of the two. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of this disorder.
People who suffer from sleep apnea are usually notified of it by their sleep partners, who notice the pauses in breathing.
How can I tell if I have sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea sufferers often feel fatigued and sleepy during the day. This can have a negative impact on work performance, general vigilance, and staying motivated.
To find out for sure if you have sleep apnea, you should be assessed by a professional. Only a medical professional can positively diagnose you, and get you the help you need to achieve a better night’s sleep.