Do I have sleep apnea, or am I just snoring?

Sleep apnea and snoring may seem similar, but they are two completely different issues. Here, our Belle River dentists explain the differences, and why they're important.

Why do I still feel tired when I wake up in the morning?

Many people who have sleep apnea are unaware that they have the condition and dismiss their symptoms as 'just snoring'. This is an easy mistake to make since snoring is one of the primary symptoms of sleep apnea. Not only that, 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 a sound created by vibrations in the respiratory structures that occur if 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.

While it's true that 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 characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing 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 could be a sign that you are experiencing sleep disruptions due to sleep apnea.

The only way to determine if you have sleep apnea is to be assessed by a medical professional. A qualified medical professional can positively diagnose you, and get you the help you need.

Do I need treatment for sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is more than just a nuisance. It carries serious health concerns with it. Those who suffer from this condition fall out of deep sleep when their breathing pauses, resulting in poor sleep quality. Sleep apnea can also lead to the release of stress hormones, change how your body uses energy, and make you feel tired and sleepy during the day. In addition, there are several potential negative health effects of inadequate sleep, such as 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.

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, your dentist can provide treatment suggestions to help you achieve a better night’s sleep.

If you think you may have sleep apnea, we can help. Book a consultation with our dentists at Alexis Dental today.

(519) 728-2171