What is the difference between SNORING and SLEEP APNEA?
Snoring is a problem that affects 67% of adults. It is conservatively estimated over 120 million people in the United States snore every night. Snoring can cause disrupted sleep for both snorers and their sleeping partners and it can lead to health problems.
Snoring is the harsh sound that occurs when the tissue at the back of the roof of the mouth vibrates against the back of the throat. During sleep, throat tissues, the tongue and the muscles that line the airway all relax, narrowing the airway. Air passing through the narrower airway causes the tissues to vibrate against each other and create the snoring sound that can grow louder during sleep. Snoring may also be an indication of a bigger health problem; sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which the soft tissues at the back of the throat completely close off the airway so that air cannot flow into the lungs. This airway blockage can reduce the amount of oxygen reaching the brain and body. When that happens, the brain alerts the muscles in the airway to tighten up and unblock the air passage. This leads to a cycle of blocking and unblocking the airway and causes significant disruption of sleep.
The most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea are: