Posted on Thursday, February 17th, 2022 at 10:04 pm
Is My Snoring Sleep Apnea?
Snoring is definitely a pain, especially for our sleep partners. But did you know that snoring can also be a sign that you are suffering from sleep apnea.
How can you know the difference?
The only way to know whether your snoring is related to sleep apnea is a sleep test, but you can definitely ask yourself some simple questions that will give you insight into whether your snoring may in fact be related to sleep apnea.
Question One – How loud is your snoring?
Snoring occurs when your airway narrows while sleeping which leads to changes in the airflow that then causes vibrations in your nose, mouth or throat.
Sleep Apnea occurs when your airway isn’t just narrow, but actually collapses when sleeping which cuts off your body’s air supply.
The level of your snoring can actually tell you when airway narrowing is more likely to lead to collapse. Deep, loud snoring means that the airway is narrowing in your mouth or throat where collapse is more likely.
High-pitched snoring can mean there is narrowing in your nose and is less likely to be linked to airway collapse. Meaning, it is less likely to be related to sleep apnea.
Question Two – Does your snoring end in gasping and choking?
Many times your sleep partner can and will actually hear your airway collapsing. This sounds more like a snore that ends in gasping and or choking. Often times there may even be a slight pause between when your snoring stops (because you are essentially being strangled by your throat) and then your gasping or choking starts (your brain is detecting oxygen shortages and fights to start breathing again).
When this happens you may even wake from your sleep, but many times you will not. In this state, it is possible that you stop breathing hundreds of times in your sleep – not even knowing it. For our sleep partners, this all is very frightening.
What Are Sleep Apnea Symptoms?
Snoring is definitely a very noticeable symptom, but it is not the only one. Here are other symptoms to be aware of:
- Waking up tired, even after a full night’s sleep.
- Having a headache when you immediately wake up.
- Going to the bathroom often at night.
- Feeling sleepy during the day.
- Literally dozing off during the day, at work, watching TV or even while driving.
- Needing extra caffeine in the morning to feel energized.
- Loss of interest in things that you enjoy.
- General difficulty concentrating.
- Memory loss.
Some of these symptoms may seem “normal”. Nowadays it is common to hear people say, “everyone is tired” or “we all need coffee in the morning.” This is definitely true in many of our lives, however, that does not mean that one may not be suffering from sleep apnea, that is undiagnosed.
If any of this resonates for you, your sleep partner or even your friends and family, it is wise to consider the next steps to get a sleep study done.
What Are Your Next Steps?
A sleep test is the only true way to diagnose sleep apnea and if in fact what you are experiencing is sleep apnea. Traditional tests are done in a sleep lab, but many major medical insurance companies now recognize take home sleep studies. These studies are done in the comfort of your own bed and home. The readings that are measured while you sleep are analyzed by a Pulmonologist and you will then get your true diagnosis of whether you are suffering with mild, moderate or severe sleep apnea.
Your best treatment will depend on your sleep apnea. The gold standard has always been a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy (CPAP). However, in recent years many Doctors are recommending the use of oral appliance therapy. Even patients diagnosed with severe sleep apnea who have been CPAP intolerant, oral appliance therapy has great success with these patients.
Meet Our Sleep Apnea Team at Babylon Dental Care
Do you believe you may be suffering from sleep apnea? Let our sleep dentist, Dr Clifford Brown and his team help you get a take home sleep test. If your test shows that you are in fact suffering from Sleep Apnea, Dr Brown can create a custom sleep appliance for you.
Dr Brown has over 20 years of experience in oral appliance therapy. Our sleep team will work with you to navigate the process, as well as, ensuring your needed care is covered by your medical insurance company.
To learn more about taking the first steps in seeking treatment, contact us.
Or take 3 minutes to take our sleep assessment now. Together we look forward to returning you to a safe and restful night’s sleep.