Does Snoring Mean You Have Sleep Apnea?
Snoring isn’t always a sign of a serious health problem, but in some cases, snoring could be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea.
According to the Sleep Foundation, approximately 57% of adult men snore and 40% of adult women snore. When you go to sleep, the muscles at the back of your throat relax. When this happens, your airway can narrow or close as you breathe. With your airway partially blocked, a vibration occurs, and loud snoring is the result.
Snoring can be attributed to a variety of factors. Too much alcohol or sleep medication, smoking cigarettes, a small lower jaw, sleeping on one’s back, or nasal congestion can all cause snoring. For women, both pregnancy and menopause can bring on snoring, as well. In some cases, however, snoring can be more than a small annoyance: it can be a major sign of obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA.
OSA causes intermittent airflow blockage during sleep that can lead to serious health issues if left untreated. It’s therefore very important to determine whether snoring is an indicator of a more serious problem. But…how can you tell?
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Besides snoring, additional signs of obstructive sleep apnea include excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat, and difficulty concentrating during the day. High blood pressure and a decreased libido are also common indicators.
In addition to symptoms, there are also risk factors to take into account for developing obstructive sleep apnea. Some common risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea include obesity, endocrine disorders such as hypothyroidism (when high hormone activity interferes with breathing during sleep), and enlarged tonsils or adenoids. Genetic traits such as the structure of the face and jaw, which can lead to airway restriction, and a large neck circumference may also put you at a higher risk for obstructive sleep apnea.
Should You Get Your Snoring Checked Out?
If you snore, you should visit your sleep physician to make sure you don’t have obstructive sleep apnea. Your risk for OSA may be increased if you answer “yes” to any of the following questions:
- I snore loudly!
- I fall sleep or feel sleepy during the day
- I’m overweight
- I have a large neck size
- I have high blood pressure
- I’m told I stop breathing while I sleep
- I’m over 50 years old
- I’m told I make gasping or choking sounds while I sleep
- I’m male
Treat Your OSA Effectively
If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, one of the simplest treatments to ask your sleep physician about are SomnoMed oral appliances.
Worn in your mouth while you sleep, a SomnoMed oral device moves your lower jaw forward to prevent your tongue and the soft tissue in your mouth falling back and blocking your airway while you sleep. SomnoMed manufactures the world’s leading oral devices for obstructive sleep apnea.
Snoring may seem like a harmless annoyance that either you and/or your bed partner struggle with on a nightly basis. For some people, however, there are some hidden health dangers associated with it. Don’t wait to receive a diagnosis – you can easily, quietly, and comfortably treat your mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea with a SomnoMed Oral Device!