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What is the difference between snoring and sleep apnea?

What is the difference between snoring and sleep apnea?

Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea. However, not all snoring is an indication of sleep apnea and not all sleep apnea patients snore. Our Delta, BC dentist explains some differences between snoring and sleep apnea.

Differences Between Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Our natural sleep patterns can be disrupted by both snoring and sleep apnea. For those who suffer from the impact of poor quality of sleep, every day is a battle. That said, not all snoring is related to sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea

Depending on the type of sleep apnea a patient has, this serious sleep disorder is marked by a physical blockage of airflow, lack of respiratory effort or both which can cause frequent, abnormal pauses in breathing.


Snoring may occur for a few reasons unrelated to sleep apnea, including nasal obstructions, an elongated soft palate or an unusually long tongue. We or our partners are likely to recognize snoring by the sound, which is produced when airflow is obstructed, leading to vibrations in a patient’s respiratory structures.

It’s confusing to many that snoring can also be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), but not everyone who suffers from sleep apnea snores. Our Delta dentist, Dr. Jerome Griffiths, explains the differences below. 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The most common form of sleep apnea is caused by the physical blockage of airflow. A sufferer’s sleep partner may be the first to notice symptoms, while the person with the disorder may not even know they have it.

Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Loud snoring
  • Night sweats
  • Dry mouth upon waking
  • Gasping while sleeping
  • Morning headaches
  • Waking frequently during the night
  • Loud snoring
  • Choking while attempting to sleep

Poor quality sleep can lead to feeling sleepy and fatigued throughout the day. As you might imagine, our work performance, overall motivation, general alertness, relationships and even your mental health can be negatively affected by chronic fatigue.

Sleep apnea is a serious condition. If you or a loved one is suffering from symptoms, contact our Delta dentist today. We may be able to help.

Get on the path to a brighter, healthier smile. Contact Ladner Village Dental today!

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