February 26, 2020
Snoring can be more than just an annoying sound for your loved ones to deal with. For many people, it’s a sign that they have sleep apnea, a dangerous disorder that constantly interrupts your nightly slumber and could eventually lead to heart attacks and other health issues. But what you may not realize is that the severity of the snoring may give us a clue regarding whether or not you’re truly suffering from sleep apnea. Is mild snoring just as concerning as heavy snoring? Keep reading to find out the truth behind these nighttime noises.
Why Do You Snore When You Have Sleep Apnea?
Snoring and sleep apnea are often linked because they’re both a result of an airway that has been blocked. (Common causes of airway obstruction include relaxed muscles in the mouth and throat as well as sinus infections or colds.) If you have sleep apnea, this blockage can stop your breathing and force your body to wake up; consequently, you spend much less time in the later stages of sleep that are important for maintaining your health.
Does Mild Snoring Equal Sleep Apnea?
While the vast majority of people with sleep apnea snore, that doesn’t mean that every case of snoring points to the disorder. In general, mild snoring may not affect the quality of your sleep. The snoring associated with sleep apnea tends to be very loud and heavy; it might also be accompanied by choking or gasping sounds. Of course, even if you don’t think your snoring is linked to sleep apnea specifically, it’s usually best not to take any chances.
Other Signs of Sleep Apnea Besides Snoring
People with sleep apnea may find that their snoring is accompanied by other symptoms, such as:
- Excessive sleepiness
- Memory problems and/or mood changes
- Waking up with a sore or dry throat
- Morning headaches
- Recurrent awakenings or insomnia
What To Do If You Snore
If someone tells you that you snore, you need to be able to either rule out or confirm sleep apnea as soon as possible. To do that, you should visit a sleep dentist that has experience in treating sleep disorders. They can help arrange for a sleep test to measure your vital signs during the night and confirm whether or not you’re experiencing breathing interruptions. After that, they may be able to prescribe an oral appliance to treat your symptoms, or they could suggest another approach.
Many people snore, but it’s important not to treat it as “normal.” If you ignore it, you could be letting sleep apnea go unchecked, and that in turn might put your life in danger. Talk to your sleep dentist about your snoring today!
About the Author
At Sleep Dallas, Dr. Kent Smith has helped over 10,000 patients find relief from their sleep breathing disorders during a career that has lasted more than 25 years. He is double board-certified in dental sleep medicine and currently serves as the president of the American Sleep and Breathing Academy. If you think your snoring might be a symptom of a more dangerous condition, schedule an appointment at his Irving practice by visiting his website or calling (844) 409-4657.