Snoring or Sleep Apnea?
Almost all people who have sleep apnea snore. However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. The only way to be sure you or your loved one’s snoring is not a more serious medical condition is to talk to your doctor and have a sleep study performed.
Excessive daytime sleepiness
If you tend to “doze off” while sitting at home, on the phone , at work, or while driving, it could be a sign that you are not getting energizing sleep at night. This can lead to mood disorders, stress on personal relationships, work-related accidents and even car accidents. One study reported that people with sleep apnea are twice as likely to be in a car crash. Furthermore, it is reported that even people with fairly mild sleep apnea have an increased risk of serious car crashes.
Regular breathing stops while sleeping
A snorer’s bed partner may notice frequent times through the night when the snorer stops breathing. The number of times a patient stops breathing will determine the level of severity of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – mild, moderate or severe.
Stopping breathing for 10 seconds or more while sleeping
- 4 or less times per hour is considered “normal”
- 5-15 times per hour is considered “mild” OSA
- 15-30 times per hour is considered “moderate” OSA
- 30+ is considered “severe” OSA
Gasping or choking while sleeping
When the throat collapses during sleep, the brain forces you to partially awaken to breathe. This can happen many times during an hour and happen all night. This cycle of breathing cessation, brain activity signaling arousal to breath keeps the patient from getting the deep sleep they need.
Snoring or Sleep Apnea?
Snoring, OSA and your Oral Appliances
Feeling tired in the morning
If you are not getting the sleep you need, you may feel more tired in the morning. This habitual poor sleep can cause problems with memory, concentration and personality changes.
Heartburn or a sour taste in the morning or at night
Many people with sleep apnea spew up stomach acid while sleeping. This is caused by the large negative pressure that is built up from the lungs expanding but the trachea occluded. The negative pressure pulls stomach acid out of the stomach. This is known as Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and can cause problems with your esophagus and your teeth.
Headaches, sore throat or dry mouth in the morning
Nearly half the people with sleep apnea have headaches due to a poor night’s sleep.
Sexual dysfunction / impotence
It’s true! Obstructive sleep apnea sufferers may experience a lack of sexual desire because of fatigue. In men, sleep apnea can be a cause of Erectile Dysfunction (ED).
Sweating and chest pain at night
Cardiac deaths occur in the early morning hours with people who suffer from sleep apnea.
Something else you should be aware of – shirt collar size is a good indicator of sleep apnea. This is especially important in people with high blood pressure and those who awake gasping and choking at night. If you are a woman and have a neck size of 16 inches or more, or you are a man with a shirt collar neck size of 17 inches or more and have any of the above reasons to be concerned, please check with your doctor.
If you or a loved one has experienced any of these symptoms regularly, it could be untreated obstructive sleep apnea. Contact our Pasadena Texas Sleep Apnea Office today for a consultation to discover if your snore is something more.