Most of us have all encountered someone who has snored, and maybe you are a snorer yourself. Although snoring can ruin the occasional night’s sleep, it can also be indicative of a more serious issue: sleep apnea. So what is the difference between snoring and sleep apnea?
Snoring is typically caused when tissues flap against each other in your throat and airways. This vibration causes that familiar night time noise. Simple snoring is generally considered benign, except possibly to others in close proximity to the snorer.
Sleep apnea is a partial or complete blockage of a person’s airways while they are sleeping. This causes their breathing to stop frequently during what should be a sweet slumber. Over time, this constantly interrupted sleep can be a factor in severe fatigue, depression, diabetes, and even stroke.
Considering that snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, how do you know which one you suffer from? In addition to snoring, those with sleep apnea may notice other symptoms, including:
- Extreme fatigue even after you just woke up
- Lack of energy
- Intense irritability
- Headaches, especially in the morning
How do you know if you suffer from sleep apnea or are just a snorer? There is no way for the person themselves to know. Scheduling an appointment with your doctor is the best way to determine an accurate diagnosis. Your doctor will discuss your symptoms, and if you could have sleep apnea, probably will send you to a sleep specialist. You will need to spend a night at a sleep clinic to monitor your sleep habits, and from there, will determine if you do, in fact, have sleep apnea. If so, you will likely be prescribed a CPAP machine, which will help keep your airways open while you sleep.
Snoring is not necessarily just an aggravating noise. It can signify more serious health issues that need to be addressed. Check with your doctor, and take control of your sleep and your health.