Sleep apnea and snoring are two different problems, although they do have several similarities. Here, our Surrey dentists explain how you can tell the difference.
Oftentimes, people who have sleep apnea are completely unaware of it; they think they just snoring. It's true sleep apnea and snoring can seem very similar: both can be related to other health problems, and both can disrupt sleep. However, there are some important differences between the two.
What is snoring?
Snoring is caused by vibrations in the respiratory structures, which happen when air movement is obstructed during sleep. This is usually caused by an elongated soft palate, the uvula, a large tongue, or nasal obstructions.
While snoring is one of the symptoms of sleep apnea, not everyone who has sleep apnea necessarily snores (and of course, many people snore that do not have sleep apnea!).
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea disorder is characterized by apneas (abnormal breathing pauses) during sleep. Apneas can occur as a result of lack of respiratory effort, a physical blockage to airflow, or combination of these. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of this disorder.
People who have sleep apnea are often notified of it by their sleep partners, who notice the pauses in breathing.
How can I tell if I have sleep apnea?
If you have sleep apnea, you may feel fatigued and sleepy during the day, to the extent that it has a negative impact on your work performance, general vigilance, and ability to stay motivated.
The best way to find out for sure if you have sleep apnea is to be assessed by a professional. Only a medical professional can positively diagnose you, and get you the help you need to achieve a better night’s sleep.