If you're one of the millions of Americans who snore when they sleep, you might be wondering if it's just harmless noise or a potential disorder. If you're consistently waking yourself and your sleep partner up every night with your snoring, you may need a consultation with a sleep doctor in Columbia, SC. At Bogan Sleep Consultants, Dr. Richard Bogan and our team are ready to educate you about snoring and sleep apnea.
Is It Harmless Snoring or Is It Sleep Apnea?
If you snore when you sleep, it doesn't necessarily mean you have sleep apnea. When you snore, the muscles in your throat relax causing the surrounding tissues to vibrate. Sleep apnea, on the other hand, occurs when your airways get temporarily blocked resulting in gaps in breathing.
People who have sleep apnea stop and start breathing while they sleep, which causes their blood oxygen levels to drop significantly. Most people who snore don't experience significant drops in their blood oxygen levels.
Additionally, people who have sleep apnea often wake up feeling exhausted and fatigued during the day. Sleep apnea often causes people to wake up breathless, and the snores usually sound like a person choking.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea Similarities
People who snore or have sleep apnea share similar traits. For example, weight, age, gender, alcohol consumption, tobacco use, and mouth or sinus anatomy are all known to cause sleep apnea and snoring. However, the size of a person's neck, tonsils, and adenoids are all factors that cause sleep apnea.
The good news is not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. If your breathing doesn't stop while you sleep, you probably don't have sleep apnea. The cause of your snoring could be something as simple as the position of your body or various lifestyle factors. To learn more about how lifestyle factors cause snoring, contact your sleep doctor in Columbia, SC.
However, if you wake up gasping for air, or your sleep partner says your snoring is loud, occurs in short intervals, and sounds like you're choking, you should schedule a consultation with a sleep doctor in Columbia, SC. right away. Our team at Bogan Sleep Consultants (803) 251-3093 and Dr. Bogan are ready to schedule your sleep test to see if you have obstructive sleep apnea or if it's just simple snoring.