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

While sleep apnea and snoring might seem similar, they are two completely different issues. Here, our dentists in Windsor explain the differences, and why they're important.

Many people who actually have sleep apnea are unaware of it and think they are just snoring. This is an easy mistake to make since snoring is one of the main symptoms of sleep apnea. Plus, both snoring and sleep apnea can be related to other health issues, and both can disrupt sleep. 

That said, there are some important differences between the two. 

What is snoring?

Snoring happens when air is obstructed during sleep. This air gets caught in respiratory structures, causing sound due to vibration. Snoring can be caused by the uvula, a large tongue, nasal obstructions or an elongated soft palate, among other things. 

While 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?

The disorder sleep apnea is marked by abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep. These breathing pauses are called apneas and can occur due to a lack of respiratory effort, physical blockage of airflow, or a combination of the two. Obstructive sleep apnea (due to 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 may be a sign that you are experiencing sleep disruptions due to sleep apnea.

The only sure-fire way to determine if you have sleep apnea is to be assessed by a 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 quality sleep. It can also trigger 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.

Once you've been diagnosed by a medical professional, your dentists can help you achieve a better night’s sleep with a variety of treatment options.

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

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