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

While they may be experienced together, did you know that sleep apnea and snoring are actually two separate concerns? Here, our Oakville dentists share some of the signs of both snoring and sleep apnea, how to tell if you are suffering from either of these and what you can do to manage the symptoms.

Most people who suffer from sleep apnea have no idea that they are even experiencing any condition other than possibly snoring. The unfortunate truth of either of these is that they can both affect your sleep and overall health.

While they have some similarities there are some important differences that can be mentioned.

Snoring: How does it happen?

When your airway becomes obstructed in any form, vibrations will occur, which will result in the sound that we associate with snoring. Snoring can be caused by an elongated soft palate, the uvula, a large tongue, or nasal obstructions, among other things.

Although 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.

Sleep Apnea: What is this condition?

If you suffer from sleep apnea then you experience pauses in your breathing throughout the night. These breathing pauses (called apneas) can occur because of a physical blockage to airflow, a lack of respiratory effort, or a combination of the two. Obstructive sleep apnea (caused by a blockage) is the most common form.

What are the common signs of sleep apnea?

If you experience sleep apnea, you likely don't know it. Most patients that exhibit the signs of this condition are typically informed but those who witness them sleeping.

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 surefire 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.

Can sleep apnea or snoring be treated?

Sleep apnea not only affects how rested you feel, but it can also have serious implications for your overall health. 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 have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and would like to learn more about managing your condition. Request a consultation with our dentists at River Oaks Dental today.

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