Snoring may not seem like your biggest health concern. In fact, it may seem like no concern at all. Yet, when left unaddressed, the phenomenon can have a number of serious effects on your overall health and wellbeing. In some cases, it can even indicate the presence of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)—a disorder that repeatedly forces you to stop breathing while you sleep. Today, we look at how snoring is connected to sleep apnea, and how to tell the difference between the two so you can better understand their risks to your health.
What’s the Difference?
- Snoring and OSA are typically caused by mouth and throat tissues clogging your airway. When you snore, it’s because these tissues have partially blocked your airway, increasing the air pressure and noise of your breathing. In the case of sleep apnea, tissues completely block the airway, preventing you from breathing at all for several moments.
- Besides the noise, the problem is snoring is that it forces you to work harder for a much lower amount of oxygen. Over time, this can stress your cardiovascular system. The problem with sleep apnea is that the episodes repeat hundreds of times a night, simultaneously making you work harder for less oxygen and depriving you of much-needed deep sleep.
- For many patients, snoring can be stopped by switching sleeping positions to prevent oral tissues from collapsing, or developing a routine to promote more restful sleep. To treat sleep apnea, however, you may need a professional diagnosis and treatment. For instance, your dentist may be able to design a customized oral appliance that prevents your airway from becoming blocked, allowing you to sleep soundly through the whole night.
Find Out How to Treat Snoring and Sleep Apnea
If you snore or think that you might have sleep apnea, then schedule a visit with us to receive a personalized examination and diagnosis. To learn more, call Houston Sleep Solutions in Spring, TX, at (281) 320-2000, or in Pearland, TX, at (832) 564-3508.