Do you know the difference between sleep apnea and snoring?

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing stops and restarts several times.

This occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax and the airway narrows or closes. Since there is not enough oxygen concentration in our blood, the brain sends a stimulus to wake up and thus reopen the airways in order to get the necessary oxygen in the blood.

What is the relationship between snoring and sleep apnea?

Snoring and sleep apnea are different disorders but are often in the same individual.

Snoring is the noise produced by the vibration of the soft palate and uvula during breathing. This does not represent a health risk, but it can cause personal, social or relationship problems.

On the other hand, apnea is the cessation of the passage of air for at least 10 seconds. There are people who only snore, i.e. they make noise, but do not suffer a drop in blood oxygen; on the other hand, the patient suffering from apnea may or may not snore.

How to stop snoring?

If changes in lifestyle habits (weight reduction, hygienic sleep measures and sleeping on the side) have no effect, the most conservative treatment to stop snoring is to see a specialist dentist to make a specific nighttime oral appliance that will help the patient to stop snoring.

What happens if we do not carry out any treatment?

Sleep apnea is a serious disease. If it is not properly treated, the consequences can be multiple. Among the most outstanding ones we can find:

  • Hypertension
  • Heart problems
  • Diabetes type 2
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Liver problems
  • Cerebrovascular disease