There are some important differences between sleep apnea and snoring, though they may seem similar. Here, our Delta dentists explain how you can tell the difference.
Many people who suffer from sleep apnea don’t know it; they think they’re just snoring. Though both sleep apnea and snoring can be related to other health problems, and can disrupt sleep, there are some important differences between the two.
What is snoring?
Snoring is caused by vibrations in the respiratory structures as a result of obstructed air movement during breathing while sleeping. It is often caused by the uvula, an elongated soft palate, a large tongue or nasal obstructions.
While many people who suffer from sleep apnea may snore, not all of them do. In other words, you may have sleep apnea without snoring.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or abnormally low breathing during sleep. These pauses (apneas) can occur as a result of lack of respiratory effort, a physical blockage to airflow, or a combination of the two. Obstructive sleep apnea, that caused by a blockage, is the most common form of this disorder.
People who suffer from sleep apnea are rarely aware that they have a problem. Indeed, usually it’s the person’s sleep partner who notices the problem.
How can I tell if I have sleep apnea?
People suffering from sleep apnea often feel fatigued and sleepy during the day. This, in turn can have a negative impact on work performance, general vigilance, and motivation in day to day life.
The best way to tell if you have sleep apnea is to have a professional assessment. Only a medical professional can positively diagnose you, and get you the help you need to achieve a better night’s sleep.