Is Snoring a Sign of Sleep Apnea?

Have you been told that you snore? It’s important to learn just how serious your snoring really is.

It could be more than an annoyance to your partner. Snoring could be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA usually causes loud and consistent snoring.

If you have woken up in the middle of the night struggle for breath or gasping for air or are often sleeping with your mouth open, your snoring could be a sign of sleep apnea.

What Causes Snoring?

Snoring occurs when a sleeping person cannot freely breath through the nose and throat. Often, those people that snore have excessive throat and nasal tissue or floppy tissue that is more likely to vibrate. When you are snoring, there is a vibration of respiratory structure which leads to the snoring sound because of the obstructed air movement. Snoring can be a result of your sleeping position, sleep deprivation, nasal problems, or alcohol consumption.

Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, but regular snoring usually will not wake you up. Sometimes snoring is just a sign that you need to change your sleeping position or have some nasal congestion. Other times snoring can be a sign of an underlying health issue. It is a common symptom of sleep apnea.  

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleeping condition that occurs when breathing is obstructed during sleep. Usually, your body will wake you up in order to resume unobstructed breath. Depending on the severity of sleep apnea, it can be a serious condition. Sleep apnea is more common than many people realize—about 90 million American adults deal with this condition.

Sleep apnea can be treated in several ways. The best treatment route may be determined based on the cause of the condition. For example, if your sleep apnea has been caused by alcohol consumption, smoking, or obesity treating that condition will impact your sleep apnea. However, sleep apnea can also be caused by things that are harder to treat—like a small upper airway. Treatment options for sleep apnea include wearing a CPAP mask during sleep to ensure continuous positive airway pressure or surgery to open up airways.

Signs of Sleep Apnea

Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea. But just because you snore, that does not necessarily mean that you have sleep apnea. There are certain things that will put you more at risk. Some of these things include your age—as you get older sleep apnea is more common, gender—sleep apnea is much more common in males than females, sinus and nasal congestion—this can cause difficulty breathing and cause problems, smoking and alcohol use—put you are higher risk for respiratory issues, body structure—sleep apnea is more common in those with small airways, and obesity—being overweight also puts you at a higher risk.