What is the difference between snoring and sleep apnea? Snoring happens when tissues in the throat relax enough that they partially block the airway and vibrate, creating a sound, which can be loud or soft. Sleep apnea (or Obstructive Sleep Apnea) is a chronic condition characterized by shallow breaths or pauses in breathing during sleep, sometimes pausing up to a minute or more.
Not every snorer has sleep apnea, however; but if snoring is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, it may be an indication to see your physician for further evaluation:
• Morning headaches
• Gasping or choking at night
• Difficulty concentrating
• Chest pain at night
• Waking up your partner
• Excessive daytime sleepiness
Sleep Studies for Sleep Apnea
If your physician feels that you are at risk for sleep apnea, they will often ask you to do a sleep study. Sleep studies can be done either in sleep labs or, most often, in the comfort of your own home. When you are ready to sleep, just attach the sensors to your body as instructed. Home sleep studies are usually covered by insurance and are much less expensive than lab sleep studies.
CPAP machines & Oral Appliances
There are several different options that will help a person dealing with snoring and sleep apnea. These options vary from CPAP machines, which provide constant airflow to keep nasal passages open, to oral appliances, which keep the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway.
Schedule a Visit
If you are experiencing snoring that keeps you up at night, it may be time to see your doctor. Insurance will typically cover visits, tests, and treatments. For an appointment, please contact one of our experienced physicians at Addison Internal Medicine at 972-301-7060 (Addison) or 972-763-5666 (Carrollton).