What is Sleep Apnea?
Sometimes sleep apnea is accompanied by snoring, but not necessarily. Sleep apnea is most easily known by abnormal pauses in breathing during sleep. This can happen because of a physical blockage of airflow, or a lack of respiratory effort. The most common apnea is when there is a physical blockage of airflow present—this is known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
It is rare that individuals with this disorder notice a difficulty in their breathing. An individual’s partner or someone who sleeps in the same room will often notice symptoms first. People with OSA feel fatigue during the day, and don’t feel refreshed upon waking up in the morning. It is also common for patients with OSA to fall asleep watching television, take naps during the day, and it may even affect their work performance.
Snoring vs. sleep apnea
To establish where you stand on the snoring vs. sleep apnea scale, it is important to participate in a sleep study. A sleep study works to monitor your body functions including brain activity, eye movements, heart rhythm, and oxygen intake. It can take place at a sleep center, or you can take a home testing device and monitor your sleep in the comfort of your bed.
Only a licensed professional medical provider can give you an accurate diagnosis and administer treatment of sleep apnea. That treatment doesn’t have to involve obstructive CPAP machines. Treatment with a dental appliance will reduce and often eliminate snoring for that individual by improving airflow during sleep.