Sleep apnea and snoring may seem similar, but they are two completely different issues. Here, our Parksville dentists explain the differences, and why they're important.
Many people who have sleep apnea are unaware of it and think they’re just snoring. This is an easy mistake to make because snoring is one of the primary symptoms of sleep apnea. In addition, both snoring and sleep apnea 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 essentially vibrations in the respiratory structures that happen when air movement is obstructed during sleep. Snoring can be caused by an elongated soft palate, the uvula, a large tongue, or nasal obstructions, among other things.
Although snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, not everyone who has sleep apnea snores. And of course, many people who snore don't have sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder that is characterized by abnormal breathing pauses during sleep. These breathing pauses (called apneas) can occur because of a physical blockage to airflow, a lack of respiratory effort, or a combination of the two. Obstructive sleep apnea (caused by a blockage) is the most common form.
How can I tell if I have sleep apnea?
People who suffer from sleep apnea are often first made aware of it by their partners, who notice the pauses in breathing.
If you feel fatigued during the day, and notice that your work performance, general vigilance, and ability to stay motivated have gone downhill, it may be a sign that you are experiencing sleep disruptions due to sleep apnea.
The only surefire way to know for sure if you have sleep apnea is to have a professional evaluate you. A licensed medical practitioner can accurately diagnose you and get you the assistance you require.
Do I need treatment for sleep apnea?
There are more benefits to having sleep apnea. It comes with significant health risks. People with this condition experience poor-quality sleep because breathing pauses cause them to awaken from a deep sleep. Additionally, it can alter how your body uses energy, cause the release of stress hormones, and leave you feeling exhausted and sleepy throughout the day. Additionally, a lack of sleep may have a number of detrimental health effects, including weight gain, memory loss, skin aging, and more.
Sleep apnea may also lead to a greater risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, certain cancers, and even sudden death.
Once you've been diagnosed by a medical professional, your dentists can help you achieve a better night’s sleep with a variety of treatment options.