the difference between snoring and sleep apnea

The Difference Between Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Which one’s which? Knowing the difference is key to avoiding bigger health problems down the line. 

Snoring is a fairly common phenomenon– it happens to half of the population at one point in their lives.  It also becomes a more natural occurrence upon aging, to both men and women alike. This rather annoying condition has been embraced to be normal– a dangerous assumption in a world where sleep apnea exists.

First thing’s first: is snoring dangerous?

As annoyingly loud as it is, snoring, on its own, is definitely not dangerous (although snoring can ruin relationships). It is only indicative of danger when it appears as a symptom of sleep apnea, which makes it a bit tricky to tell if you aren’t quite informed about it.

Either way, the best strategy is to stay informed and consult your doctor. If you end up apnea-free, they will still be able to help you with your excessive snoring, which makes your doctor’s appointment a definite win-win.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where breathing stops for periods of time. Snoring is actually a symptom of sleep apnea, which means that sleep apnea is snoring… packaged with a lot of other symptoms and health risks. Thankfully, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, but it is important to note that most of those with sleep apnea aren’t aware that they have it because they don’t get it checked.

The most common type of sleep apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This is caused by the collapse of soft tissue at the back of your throat, which ultimately stops your breathing. Central Sleep Apnea, on the other hand, is another type of sleep apnea wherein the brain does not send the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome is a mix of both OSA and Central Sleep Apnea.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

  • Loud snoring.
  • When you stop breathing during sleeping– a symptom usually reported by another person– you should get yourself checked for sleep apnea.
  • Gasps for air mid-sleep is another symptom.
  • Having headaches upon waking up.
  • Insomnia is a huge indicator of sleep apnea.
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness or hypersomnia.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is best to consult your doctor.

In case you have no one to confirm any of the mid-sleep symptoms listed here, you can try recording your sleep with audio or video recorders (i.e your phone).

Why is Sleep Apnea dangerous?

Sleep apnea increases daytime fatigue, causes high blood pressure (due to reduced oxygen levels during sleep), is linked to unhealthy weight gain, and increases the risk of serious complications like liver disease, type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. Sleep apnea also makes using anesthesia riskier, as reduced breathing makes you more sensitive to its effects.

I seem to have some of the symptoms. What now?

Have you already taken the Snoresy – Snore Self-Diagnosis Quiz?  If not start by taking the quiz to find out the likely cause of your snoring.  Follow the recommended next steps and try a few of the Snoresy approved products.  If your snoring doesn’t reduce or disappear all together you should consult a doctor.

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