The Difference Between Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Regular snoring is not considered to be a serious problem, however, unlike sleep apnea snoring, generalized snoring can be an early warning sign of existing sleep apnea. In fact, snoring affects up to 37 million Americans on a regular basis and 90 million Americans occasionally snore at some point in their lives with no serious medical consequences. However, combined with other symptoms it can indicate that it’s time to get screened for sleep apnea.
Factors related to generalized snoring include:
- Sleeping position
- Consumption of alcohol
- Sleep deprivation
Sleep Apnea Snoring
The snoring associated with sleep apnea is heavy and harsh. These apneas occur as a result of the individual being unable to properly breathe. There is a physical blockage to the airflow and snoring becomes a sign of struggle.
Additional factors of sleep apnea snoring may include:
- Large neck
- Excessive smoking and alcohol consumption
If you suspect that you may be suffering from snoring or sleep apnea, the initial step is to schedule an appointment with Dr. Huff. He will perform a comprehensive examination and refer patients to a sleep center for a diagnosis. Once he reviews your sleep study, your treatment plan can then be customized to address your condition and specific needs.
The Consequences of Untreated Sleep Apnea
Ignoring your sleep apnea symptoms can be fatal. People with untreated sleep apnea are more likely to suffer from strokes and heart attacks. The daytime fatigue caused by sleep apnea doesn’t just hurt your work performance. In fact, it also results in numerous automobile accidents that take countless lives and cause billions of dollars worth of damage every year. Anxiety, depression, insomnia, impotence, and obesity are all conditions that can be caused or exacerbated by sleep apnea.
What Causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
There are three major types of sleep apnea, Central Sleep Apnea, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and Complex Sleep Apnea (or Mixed Sleep Apnea). Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to signal the body to breathe. However, over ninety percent of sleep apnea cases are due to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This happens when the patient’s airflow is blocked by an obstruction in the airway, somewhere between the nasal passage and the lungs. Complex sleep apnea is a combination of both central and obstructive sleep apnea symptoms. It’s important to note that some patients being treated for obstructive sleep apnea with the use of a CPAP machine may develop symptoms of central sleep apnea.