The Relationship between Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Causes and Symptoms of Snoring

Unfortunately, most people know what snoring is. If you are reading this you are likely more familiar with snoring than you would like. However, just to be on the safe side, let’s start with a medical definition.

Snoring occurs when a person “makes a hoarse or harsh sound” as a result of air passing over tissue in the throat. When we sleep the tissue tends to relax and obstruct breathing. This leads the tissue to vibrate with every breath. Most people snore some, but some do so to the extent that it affects their waking life.

Aside from the discomfort snoring can cause a bedfellow, it can lead to a severe reduction in the quality of life.

Dangers of Lack of Sleep

A person who snores too much loses sleep. Just as importantly, the sleep they do get is shallow and not sufficient to refresh and allow the body to recoup. A lack of quality sleep often causes irritability, headaches, high blood pressure, loss of concentration and a host of other negative symptoms. Lack of quality sleep prevents people from having the energy and concentration to perform at peak levels. It may also cause the ageing process to occur quicker than it otherwise would.

Sleep Apnea


It is possible to reduce the severity of snoring through lifestyle changes. Men are especially prone to snore, and if so they should consider losing weight, exercising more, and cutting out or reducing alcohol and tobacco.

No one can do those things overnight. It might take some time to make the necessary changes, but it can be done. Remember, every little increase in exercise, every few pounds lost or cigarettes not smoked will over time lead to significant results.

Sleep Apnea

When snoring becomes chronic and pronounced, it can lead to a condition called sleep apnea. Sleep Apnea occurs just as snoring does although to a greater extent. The relaxed tissue no longer just obstructs the breathing passage but blocks it completely. Obviously, this is a serious and dangerous condition.

Sleep apnea rarely causes death by itself, but it can lead to potentially fatal conditions. Chronic lack of oxygen inhalation during sleep increases the occurrence stroke, obesity, heart attack, high blood pressure and other health complications.

Central sleep apnea

The most uncommon but nonetheless serious condition that sleep apnea can produce is called central sleep apnea. This condition occurs when the brain stops transmitting the signals that cause you to breath. The muscles don’t receive the signals necessary for inhalation. This can cause a person to stop breathing, and then gasp, snort, or awake suddenly with a breathless and startled feeling.

When to See a Doctor

Sleep apnea is a serious condition. Lifestyle changes alone may not be sufficient treatment. If you awake suddenly, choke or gasp during sleep you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

A sleep apnea doctor can determine exactly what is causing the condition and the best way to treat it. Additionally, a sleep apnea doctor will likely run tests to find out how far progressed the condition is. Everyone is an individual and a sleep apnea doctor can prescribe a treatment plan that best fits each individual case.

Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep so they can be their best. If you suspect you might have the symptoms mentioned above consult an experienced sleep specialist today.


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