Although sleep apnea and snoring have some key overlapping symptoms, they are very different issues. Today, our Surrey dentists explain what sleep apnea is and some of the main differences between snoring and sleep apnea.
Snoring and sleep apnea both cause disruptions to natural sleep patterns and leave people battling with the effects of poor sleep quality. That said, not all snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, and not all people suffering from sleep apnea will necessarily snore.
What is snoring?
Snoring occurs when airflow becomes obstructed and causes the respiratory structures to vibrate and make a noise. Snoring is frequently a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) but, it's still important to remember that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Other causes of snoring include:
- Nasal obstructions
- An elongated soft palate
- A large tongue
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that requires medical diagnosis and treatment. This condition is characterized by shallow breathing or abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep. It is very common for sleep apnea sufferers to be unaware that they have the condition until they are alerted to their symptoms by loved ones who sleep beside them. Those who share a bed with people suffering from sleep apnea will often lose sleep due to their loved one's symptoms.
There are 3 different types of sleep apnea, each of these types of sleep apnea is defined by the causes of the abnormal breathing.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is caused by a physical blockage to airflow,
- Central Sleep Apnea occurs due to a lack of respiratory effort,
- Mixed Sleep Apnea is caused by a combination of both an obstruction and lack of respiratory effort.
What are the most common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea?
People suffering from sleep apnea will typically display one or more of the following symptoms:
- Gasping when trying to sleep
- Choking while trying to sleep
- Loud snoring
- Night sweats
- Waking frequently throughout the night
- Morning headaches
- High blood pressure
- Dry mouth when waking