Sleep Apnea

How to Tell the Difference between Sleep Apnea Symptoms and Snoring

Sleep Apnea and snoring are both issues that can have a negative effect on sleep quality. Although these conditions share similarities, their problem and treatment is not the same. Obtaining a proper diagnosis is imperative when it comes to alleviating your snoring or Sleep Apnea symptoms.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Many people aren’t aware of their snoring or Sleep Apnea symptoms until alerted by their partner. Both snoring and Sleep Apnea can be disruptive for the sufferer and their partners, causing fatigue and daytime sleepiness. This, in turn, can have a negative effect difference between snoring and sleep apnea symptomson everything from school and work to interpersonal relationships, as sleep deprivation can contribute to mood swings and depression.

Keeping track of your symptoms can help you communicate more effectively with your medical professional. Simply write your daily symptoms in a journal kept specifically for that purpose and take it with you to your medical appointment. Understanding what makes snoring and Sleep Apnea different can also be helpful when speaking with your doctor.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea can include the following:

  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue, despite sleeping at least 8 hours
  • Loud snoring that can be heard in another room
  • Waking up at night gasping or choking
  • Sleep restlessness

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

The most common type of Sleep Apnea, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, is caused by an airway blockage similar to snoring. When the airway becomes obstructed, it causes the breathing to pause. These pauses can last in duration from a few seconds to longer than a minute, and can have a detrimental impact on sleep quality.

The first step when dealing with Sleep Apnea symptoms is to see your doctor. If a diagnosis of Sleep Apnea is reached, the next thing to do is explore treatment options to discover which one is right for you.

Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

While maintaining a healthy diet and losing weight can help reduce symptoms of Sleep Apnea, they should be combined with CPAP therapy as a long-term treatment plan. CPAP therapy is the most common and effective treatment for Sleep Apnea. It helps maintain airflow and reduce pauses in breathing.

CPAP therapy works by delivering pressurized air from a CPAP machine into your mask. The pressurized air keeps the airway in the nasal passages open for easier breathing during sleep. When used as directed, CPAP therapy can significantly reduce breathing obstructions from Sleep Apnea, improving your quality of sleep and overall health.

There are other treatments that may be employed when dealing with Sleep Apnea. As with snoring, surgery can sometimes help Sleep Apnea symptoms. Usually, the doctor will take the most conservative approach before suggesting surgical intervention. What works for one person with Sleep Apnea may not work for another, which is why trial and error is sometimes necessary.

What Causes Snoring?

Snoring is a common issue that affects many people every night. Not all Sleep Apnea sufferers snore, and not all snorers have Sleep Apnea. It’s estimated that half of all adults in the U.S. snore, whereas 1 in 15 Americans suffer from Sleep Apnea.

Snoring is caused by soft tissue vibrations caused by partial blockage of the airway, which makes the distinctive sound that can be soft or loud. There are a variety of factors that can lead to snoring, including being overweight, drinking alcohol, and sleeping on your back. Obstruction of the nasal passages can also contribute to snoring.

Treatment Options for Snoring

The first step when seeking treatment for snoring is to see your doctor. They will ask you about your symptoms and sleeping habits, and may send you to a sleep specialist for further testing. Sleep studies are a common diagnostic method for snoring and Sleep Apnea. If you and your doctor determine that snoring is indeed the problem, there are several treatment options that may be explored.

Losing weight is one way to deal with the problem of snoring. As the extra pounds come off, snoring can improve. For some people, wearing nasal strips or sleeping in a mouthpiece can alleviate snoring. In mild to moderate cases, changing your sleep position and elevating the head of your bed may also be helpful.

Surgery is only considered in severe cases of snoring and when other treatments have failed. The type of surgery depends on the source of your snoring problem. Some surgery options include uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), radiofrequency palatoplasty, and tonsillectomy.

Learn More

We understand the stress that can come with Sleep Apnea concerns and are here to help. You can reach out to us at 1-800-356-5221 or by email at cpap@cpap.com. Also, check out Dr. Amie Stringfellow’s experience getting diagnosed with Sleep Apnea and best advice for doing well with CPAP therapy.

Daniela has researched and published over 60 articles covering topics that aim to inform and empower people living with Sleep Apnea. As an avid reader and researcher, Daniela continues to grow her knowledge about Sleep Apnea and CPAP therapy everyday with the help of coworkers, CPAP.com customers, and members of other CPAP communities online.

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