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Snoring or Sleep Apnea: There's a Difference

  • Category: Sleep
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General
Snoring or Sleep Apnea: There's a Difference

Did you know that at least 25% of people snore nightly? While some of these people are “simple snorers,” many suffer from a serious sleep disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common sleep-related breathing disorder, causes you to repeatedly stop and start breathing while you sleep.

Simple, or primary, snoring is very common and occurs when soft tissues in the throat partially collapse, causing vibrations. This light, infrequent snoring doesn’t require medical treatment and is usually caused by congestion or sinus problems, being overweight, alcohol consumption, a deviated septum or pregnancy, among other things. Its main impact is on a bed partner or roommate who may be bothered by the noise.

However, obstructive sleep apnea is more worrisome from a health perspective. OSA is a breathing disorder in which the airway gets blocked or collapsed during sleep, causing repeated lapses in breath. It disturbs sleep and often disrupts the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body. Unchecked OSA is associated with dangerous daytime drowsinessand serious health conditions including cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and depression.

It’s important to talk to your doctor if you experience signs of potential sleep apnea:

  • Snoring that occurs three or more times per week
  • Very loud or bothersome snoring
  • Snoring with gasping, choking or snorting sounds, followed by abrupt awakenings
  • Awakening with dry mouth or sore throat
  • Daytime drowsiness and difficulty concentrating during the day
  • Morning headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Nighttime teeth grinding
  • Obesity or recent weight gain
  • Decreased libido

If you or your bed partner notices these symptoms of sleep apnea, you may be a candidate for sleep study. At BRG’s Sleep Center, our specialists help you manage your sleep disorder and get back your quality of life.

Sleep apnea is treated based on how serious your condition is. For mild cases, you may only need to make lifestyle changes - lose weight, stop smokingor treat nasal allergies. If you have a more moderate to severe case of sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend a continuous positive airway (CPAP) machine to send air pressure through a mask while you sleep.

Your health depends on getting enough sleep. If you are experiencing any symptoms of sleep apnea, consult a doctor.