Snoring or Sleep Apnea - What's the Difference?

Snoring or Sleep Apnea - What's the Difference?

Sleep apnea and snoring have some key overlapping symptoms, nonetheless they are very different issues. In today's post, our Surrey dentists explain a little about what sleep apnea is and some of the main differences between sleep apnea and snoring.

While it's true that both snoring and sleep apnea cause disruptions to natural sleep patterns and leave people battling with the effects of poor sleep quality, not all snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, and not all people suffering from sleep apnea will snore. 

What is snoring?

When airflow becomes obstructed and causes the respiratory structures to vibrate, the sound we know as snoring will occur. Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) but, it's still important to remember that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Nasal obstructions, an elongated soft palate or a naturally large tongue can also lead to snoring.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder characterized by shallow breathing or abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep. It is very common for sleep apnea sufferers to be unaware that they are suffering from the condition until they are alerted to their symptoms by loved ones who sleep beside them. Sleep partners of people with 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 cause of the abnormal breathing.

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is caused by a physical blockage to airflow,
  • Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) occurs due to a lack of respiratory effort,
  • Mixed Sleep Apnea (MSA) is caused by a combination of both an obstruction and lack of respiratory effort.

What are the most common signs of sleep apnea?

People who suffer 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
During waking hours, many people suffering from sleep apnea feel fatigued and sleepy due to the poor quality of their sleep. Overwhelming fatigue which is often caused by sleep apnea can have some very negative impacts on the day-to-day life of sufferers. Reduced overall motivation, general alertness and work performance can often be the result of sleep apnea, and poor quality of sleep. 

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that is unlikely to clear-up on it's own. If you suspect you may be suffering from sleep apnea, contact your Surrey Vancouver dentist today. Our dentists may be able help you get a good night's rest.

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Contact Guildford Heights Dental today to book a no-obligation consultation for you or your family. 

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