Snoring Vs. Sleep Apnea

daytime sleepiness

Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea and not everyone who has sleep apnea snores. Snoring and sleep apnea have one thing in common. These are both disruptive and can disturb sleep. Disrupted sleep can cause fatigue, daytime sleepiness, mood swings, depression and a host of other problems.

Snoring is caused by soft tissue vibration or obstruction of the nasal passages. This happens when people have allergies or a sinus infection. A deviated septum can also cause the nasal passages to get blocked. If the muscles in the throat and tongue are weak, they fall back blocking the airway. In people who are overweight, bulky throat tissue causes snoring. If the soft palate or the uvula is too long, the opening from the nose to the throat becomes narrow. These bump against each other and vibrate causing the airway to be obstructed. This too causes snoring.

There are ways of tackling the problem of snoring. You could try sleeping with nasal strips. Sleeping in a mouthpiece might help. Other ways that can help stop snoring are losing weight, not drinking alcohol before bedtime and sleeping on one side. In extreme cases, surgery is an option. If the sleeping partner of the patient is happy then snoring is effectively cured.

If snoring is accompanied by symptoms such as sleepless nights, daytime sleepiness, etc., you could be suffering from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder but it is a lot more insidious than snoring. It is caused by an obstruction in the airway. When the soft tissue in the airway collapses, the path for oxygen to reach the lungs is obstructed. This causes cessation in breathing for several minutes. This could happen multiple times during sleep.

The non intrusive ways of treating sleep apnea are a healthy diet and losing some extra pounds. A CPAP machine is a foolproof solution to dealing with sleep apnea. A long time patient of sleep apnea, Dr. A.K. Roy has this to say, “People in this country are aware of diabetes and cancer. But they are not aware of sleep apnea. It is mainly linked to obesity. The one that is more affected by sleep apnea is the sleeping partner. People that are affected by this sleep disorder don’t get treated. The primary and most effective way of treating sleep apnea is using CPAP. When the oxygen intake gets very low, the CPAP machine makes air pass through the mouth and nose. As a result, a person suffering from sleep apnea is able to get about eight hours of peaceful sleep at night.” He goes on to say, “I have used the CPAP machine and have got immense relief.” In extreme cases, surgery is a possible solution just as it is in the case of snoring.

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