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What is the difference between snoring and having sleep apnea?

What is the difference between snoring and having sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea and snoring have similar symptoms, but they are very different issues. Our Delta dentists explain what sleep apnea is and share some of the differences between snoring and sleep apnea.

Snoring and sleep apnea disrupt natural sleep patterns and leave suffers battling with the effects of poor quality sleep. That said, while many people with sleep apnea do in fact snore, not all snoring is related to sleep apnea. 


Snoring happens when airflow becomes obstructed and causes vibrations in the respiratory structures. Those vibrations are what we snoring.

There are a number of reasons why a person might snore. Some of the most common causes of an airway obstruction include: nasal obstructions, an elongated soft palate, or a large tongue. 

While snoring is a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), not everyone who suffers from sleep apnea will snore.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious condition characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or shallow breathing during sleep. The pauses in breathing associated with sleep apnea may be caused by; a physical blockage to airflow, a lack of respiratory effort, or a combination of the both.

When sleep apnea is caused by a physical blockage of airflow the suffer will be diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of this condition.

People suffering from obstructive sleep apnea are often unaware that they have the condition until their sleep partner points out the symptoms that they are noticing.

Common Signs of Sleep Apnea

Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include: loud snoring, gasping or choking while trying to sleep, dry mouth when waking, waking frequently throughout the night, morning headaches, high blood pressure, and night sweats.

People suffering from sleep apnea often feel fatigued and sleepy throughout the day due to the poor quality of their sleep. This fatigue can, in turn, have some very negative impacts on their work performance, general alertness, and overall motivation. 

Sleep apnea is a serious condition. If you suspect you may be suffering from sleep apnea, contact your Delta dentist today to book a consultation.

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