Snoring or Sleep Apnea? Knowing the Difference Can Save Your Health

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While most individuals occasionally snore, it’s possible that snoring may be indicative of a more serious condition known as sleep apnea. Here’s what you need to know about the difference between snoring and sleep apnea.

Why Does Snoring Occur?

Snoring occurs when air goes past the tissues in your throat, causing them to vibrate. This is more likely to happen when you’ve consumed alcohol close to bedtime, are experiencing nose congestion, sleep on your back or stomach, or are overweight.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition that causes patients to stop breathing while they’re asleep. Though the length of time that they stop breathing is short, each instance disturbs their sleep.

Individuals with sleep apnea won’t fully awaken when their breathing stops. Due to the disruption to their sleep, they may sleep lightly and lack deep, restorative sleep that’s essential for optimal health.

When left untreated, sleep apnea puts you at a higher risk of diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and Alzheimer’s disease.

What are the Signs of Sleep Apnea?

The following are common signs of sleep apnea:

  • Sore or dry throat when you wake up
  • Restless sleep
  • Choking or gasping during the night
  • Chest pain while you sleep
  • Loud snoring that disrupts your partner
  • Daytime sleepiness, even when you’ve had ample rest
  • Breathing pauses during your sleep
  • Headaches
  • Problems concentrating or focusing during the day
  • Low libido
  • Unexplained irritability and depression

Several risk factors make you more likely to experience sleep apnea, like being overweight, having a family history of sleep apnea, experiencing acid reflux, or having a nasal obstruction or deviated septum.

Options for Treating Sleep Apnea

There are a few different ways to successfully treat sleep apnea. Some individuals can treat mild cases of sleep apnea by losing weight, reducing their alcohol consumption, and treating nasal allergies.

A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is prescribed for more severe cases of sleep apnea. Many individuals find it difficult to comfortably sleep when using a CPAP machine.

Another less invasive alternative is an oral appliance. We can create a custom oral appliance that keeps your airway open so that your body gets enough oxygen.

Get Help for Your Sleep Apnea

If you have signs of sleep apnea or are concerned that your snoring is interfering with your health, contact Soothing Dental to learn more about oral appliances for sleep apnea. If you need a dentist in San Francisco or Sunnyvale, you’ve come to the right place.