What Is the Difference Between Snoring and Sleep Apnea?

Man with sleep apnea using CPAP machine Snoring vs. sleep apnea: which one is bothering you? Although these two are common sleep-related issues, they differ in severity and health risks. Most people use these terms interchangeably, which leads to more confusion. 

Learn more about their significant differences so that you can get an accurate diagnosis and appropriately manage your sleep-related breathing disorder.

What Is the Difference Between Snoring and Sleep Apnea?

Snoring is a common sleep-related issue characterized by noisy breathing during sleep. Vibration of soft tissues in the throat and airway can cause this condition. It often occurs when airflow is partially obstructed during sleep. 

It may lead to turbulent airflow and the production of sound. While snoring can be disruptive to bed partners and may indicate underlying issues such as nasal congestion or sleep position, it does not indicate any serious medical conditions.

Conversely, frequent breathing pauses during sleep are a hallmark of sleep apnea, a disease related to sleep. As the person tries to start breathing again, they frequently experience choking or gasping.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is brought on by a partial or total obstruction of the airway, and central sleep apnea (CSA), which is brought on by abnormalities in the brain’s respiratory control systems, are the two primary forms of sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition that can lead to fragmented sleep, daytime fatigue, and an increased risk of cardiovascular problems. 

While snoring is generally considered a mild sleep-related issue, sleep apnea represents a more severe form of sleep-disordered breathing. It can have significant health implications if left untreated. It can lead to oxygen deprivation, sleep fragmentation, and systemic inflammation.  Snoring, while disruptive, is not typically associated with serious health risks on its own. 

Book Your Sleep Apnea Consultation in St. Louis, MO

While snoring and sleep apnea involve disruptions to breathing during sleep, they differ significantly in terms of severity, underlying causes, and potential health risks. If you or a loved one experiences symptoms of sleep apnea or snoring, call us at 314-582-0888 and schedule an appointment with St. Louis Sinus Center. 

Contact us today to book your appointment and take the first step towards improving your sleep quality.

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