Occasional snoring is a normal thing; you could pass out from exhaustion or go to bed with a cold and start breathing heavily, and within the hour, start snoring audibly. This is not cause for alarm, but if it gets out of hand the way it does with most Americans, you would be dealing with a nightly habit that was not just annoying, but also dangerous in the long run. Snoring can lead to many different disorders as well as mask their presence – the symptoms of the latter can often get mistaken for snore-induced fatigue.
OSA or Obstructive Sleep Apnea is one of those problems that can manage to stay hidden for a very long time. Around 20 million people in the country suffer from this, and it has been shown to have links to other health issues like heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
How are OSA and Snoring Different?
It is not uncommon for snoring and sleep apnea to be confused for one another. The main thing to remember is that not all snorers have sleep apnea, even though untreated OSA sufferers snore as a rule. Snoring is a noise caused by the type of labored breathing that causes the soft tissue at the back of the throat to vibrate. This owes to blockage in the nose, mouth, or throat, any of which can disrupt normal breathing, which can be overcome through the use of a snore guard. The following are some of the causes these blocks can be attributed to.
- A deviated septum
- Airway obstructions
- Poor muscle tone
Snoring serves as a symptom of sleep apnea, but is otherwise a distinctly different issue. Sleep apnea acts up the form of the person pausing while breaching, sometimes for as long as 10 seconds at a stretch. This disturbs good sleep and can even preclude it, consequently inviting a long list of health issues like difficulty concentrating, daytime drowsiness, anxiety, and depression.
It is possible by yourself to figure out whether you have OSA, but the more definitive approach is to go see a doctor. Most regular doctors would either check you themselves or recommend seeing a sleep specialist. The following would be checked.
- Current physical health
- Medical history
- Sleep study results
A sleep study is an account of how your body responds when something happens while you are asleep. These record your vitals to figure out how severe the condition is, and the specialist proceeds based on the results it gives.