Many people assume that all snoring is due to sleep apnea and that all sleep apnea involves snoring. This is some truth to this correlation given that snoring is one of the major symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and is also among the most noticeable. However, not everyone who snores has OSA, and not everyone with this condition snores.
More information about snoring vs sleep apnea:
What is Snoring?
Snoring is a harsh sound that occurs during sleep when air flows past tissues within the throat, causing them to vibrate. It is fairly common and most individuals snore occasionally. When snoring is occurring every night or is a nuisance to anyone sleeping in the same room, it can be a more serious issue. Snoring can be a symptom of OSA, but it is not a medical condition in and of itself.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person stops breathing periodically while asleep. This results in waking up throughout the night, which leads to fatigue during the day. When left untreated, sleep apnea can have a variety of consequences including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Snoring Without Sleep Apnea
Snoring that isn’t caused by sleep apnea is known as primary snoring. This can develop due to older age, which results in more relaxed throat muscles. Sleeping on your back can also increase the possibility of snoring. Snoring indicates a blockage in the upper airway and only a medical professional can determine if this is due to sleep apnea or if it is happening for another reason.
Sleep Apnea Without Snoring
Just like you can snore without having sleep apnea, you can also have sleep apnea without snoring. In these cases, patients still wake up and gasp for air during the night, but do not snore consistently enough for others to notice. In this case, patients may still notice other symptoms of sleep apnea.
What To Do If You Think You Have Sleep Apnea
While snoring is not always associated with sleep apnea, it is a frequent indicator of the condition. This means that if you are snoring or have any other symptoms, you should consider undergoing a sleep study to determine if sleep apnea is the cause.
Some signs that snoring is associated with sleep apnea include:
- Snoring very loudly
- Gasping for air or choking
- Pausing breathing for ten seconds or longer
Non-snoring related symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth
- Difficulty concentrating during the day
How We Treat Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea and dentistry may not seem related at first, but dentists like Dr. Atty Smith are often able to catch early signs of sleep apnea and refer patients to medical professionals who can confirm this diagnosis. We are proud to offer a cutting-edge treatment for sleep apnea: the Vivos System. This is a custom oral appliance that actually corrects the issues that lead to sleep apnea, and most patients require no further intervention after they complete treatment.