Sleep apnea and snoring are very different issues with similar symptoms. Here, our Richmond dentists explain what sleep apnea is and share some of the key differences between sleep apnea and snoring.
Sleep apnea and snoring both disrupt natural sleep patterns and leave sufferers battling with the effects of poor sleep quality. That said, while many people with sleep apnea snore, not all snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea.
Snoring is the sound of vibrating respiratory structures, caused when airflow is obstructed. Common causes of airway obstructions include: an elongated soft palate, a large tongue, or nasal obstructions.
Snoring is a very common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) however, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea and not everyone with sleep apnea snores.
It is not unusual for people to be unaware that they have sleep apnea. Many people are alerted to their own symptoms by their sleep partners who are also losing sleep due to their loved one's sleep apnea symptoms.
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder which is characterized by shallow breathing or abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep. There are 3 different types of sleep apnea which are defined by the causes of the abnormal breathing patterns.
3 Types of Sleep Apnea:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) which is caused by a physical blockage to airflow,
- Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) which is caused by a lack of respiratory effort,
- Mixed Sleep Apnea (MSA) which is caused by a combination of the both an obstruction and lack of respiratory effort.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
The most common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
Gasping when trying to sleep
Choking while trying to sleep
Dry mouth when waking
High blood pressure
Throughout the day, people suffering from sleep apnea often feel fatigued and sleepy due to the poor quality of their sleep. This fatigue can, in turn, have some very negative impacts on their general alertness, overall motivation, and work performance.