Is it Snoring or Sleep Apnea?

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Is it Snoring or Sleep Apnea?

When is snoring something serious that you need to worry about? Sleep apnea is a sleep problem that can cause a lot of health problems. So you need to know: Is it snoring or sleep apnea?

What Causes Snoring?

You or your partner may be looking for a quick fix to your snoring issue. We’ll get to snoring solutions in a minute. First, let’s talk about what causes snoring.

Snoring is caused by airway obstruction when you sleep. The obstruction may be the result of things like:

 
  1. Narrow airways
  2. Soft tissue blocking your airway
  3. Your tongue relaxing into your airway and partially blocking it

Snoring is often caused by your anatomy. However, it may be worsened by things like being obese or drinking a lot of alcohol.

What Relieves Snoring?

If you only snore and don’t have sleep apnea, you have a lot of options, like these snoring remedies. Some of the most common types of remedies are snoring mouthguards. There are two main types of snoring mouthguards.

Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD)

A mandibular advancement device works by bringing your lower jaw forward. That helps keep your tongue away from your airway so it’s unobstructed.

MADs can work well for a lot of people. The main downsides are that you can’t wear them with dentures and some people experience jaw pain.

Tongue Restraining Device (TRD)

If you don’t want to use a MAD, then a tongue restraining device may work well for you. A TRD holds the tip of your tongue between your front teeth. That helps prevent it from relaxing into your airway.

You can use a TRD if you have dentures, and they usually cause less discomfort than a MAD. However, you must be able to breathe through your nose to use a TRD. If you have narrow airways or chronic congestion, then a TRD may not be right for you.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition where you stop breathing when you sleep. This causes a lack of oxygen to your brain and body. There are 3 main types of sleep apnea:

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea, where your airway is blocked by your tongue or soft tissue
  2. Central sleep apnea, a condition where your brain forgets to tell you to breathe
  3. Complex sleep apnea syndrome, which is a combination of the other two types

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can affect your health. The more often you stop breathing during the night, the more your brain wakes up to start breathing again. This results in distrubed sleep and poor sleep quality.

The lack of oxygen and reduced sleep quality can lead to problems like high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. 

Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea

Some people are more likely to develop sleep apnea than others. Risk factors for sleep apnea may include:

  1. Obesity
  2. Large neck circumference
  3. Family history
  4. Smoking
  5. Drinking alcohol
  6. Narrowed airways
  7. Being male
  8. Being older
  9. Nasal congestion

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

How can you tell whether you have sleep apnea? Here are some of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea:

  1. Gasping for air while you sleep
  2. Stopping breathing
  3. Loud snoring
  4. Waking up with a headache
  5. Feeling tired during the day
  6. Irritability
  7. Trouble paying attention
  8. Waking up with a dry mouth
  9. Trouble falling asleep

What Relieves Sleep Apnea?

Mild obstructive sleep apnea can often be relieved with a snoring mouthpiece. Severe sleep apnea may need something more intense.

A common treatment for sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This machine keeps your airways open at night with a continuous supply of pressurized air. You must do a sleep test to see if you have sleep apnea and how bad it is to get a CPAP.

When to See a Doctor

Sleep apnea can cause a wide variety of health problems. If your partner has noticed that you stop breathing when you sleep or if snoring mouthpieces don’t help, you should see a doctor. It could be a matter of life and death.

Some complications of sleep apnea can include:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Heart problems
  3. Daytime fatigue (which can lead to car accidents, among other problems)
  4. Metabolic syndrome
  5. Diabetes
  6. Liver problems
  7. Sleep-deprived partners
  8. Complications with surgery or medications

Is It Snoring or Sleep Apnea?

Only a sleep test done by a doctor can tell you for sure whether your snoring is caused by sleep apnea. If a snoring mouthpiece helps relieve your snoring, it’s likely you don’t have severe sleep apnea. It it doesn’t help, you should see a doctor about a potential sleep apnea diagnosis.

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