We all know that snoring can be a nuisance to your spouse, roommates, children, or whomever has to share a room with you at night. But it’s also becoming increasingly clear that snoring can actually be a serious health risk.
So how do you know the difference? How can you tell whether your snoring means you have a serious health problem like sleep apnea. The true answer is: you can only tell with a sleep test. But here are four clues that should warn you that you absolutely need to get tested for sleep apnea.
Your Snoring Is Loud
Some people make quiet, whispering sounds when they snore. You might think that’s cute or sweet. But when snoring turns into a roar, it’s hard to think of it as anything but a disruption. And it’s also a warning sign. If snoring is keeping others awake, especially if those people are in other rooms, you have to take it seriously.
Studies have shown that louder snoring is more likely to be associated with sleep apnea than quiet snoring. That’s partly because quiet snoring comes from the nose but louder snoring is more likely to come from the throat, which is where apnea typically occurs. So if your snoring shakes the windows, that’s a really bad sign.
Your Snoring Stops in a Choking or Strangled Sound
Snoring is caused by narrow airways at night. As your airway gets smaller, the air has a harder time passing through, which leads to turbulence and vibration of the tissues. This leads to the sound you hear.
But sleep apnea occurs when that narrowed airway closes completely. This is audible as a snore that ends in a choking or strangled sound as your tongue or throat tissue closes off your air supply.
If people report that your snoring does this, or that you tend to gasp periodically through the night when your snoring stops, it’s a good sign that you are experiencing sleep apnea, and you should talk to a doctor.
You Are Tired During the Day
Snoring is always a source of contention in a couple where one person is awake at night and the other one is dozing away, seemingly at rest and in peace.
That is an illusion. If someone’s snoring is waking you up, the odds are pretty good that they’re not actually sleeping peacefully. Sometimes, they might be awakened by the sound of their own snoring. More often, they’re awakened when their air supply gets choked off in a sleep apnea.
But even if they’re not waking up at night, their snoring is a sign that they are desperately struggling for air all night as they sleep.
As a result of all the awakenings and air shortage, many snorers wake up feeling as if they haven’t slept at all. They are as tired as or more tired than when they went to sleep. And that tiredness can continue all day long.
If you experience daytime sleepiness or fatigue after a night of snoring, you need to see a doctor about sleep apnea.
You Have Been Diagnosed with Related Health Conditions
Many people with sleep apnea suffer with numerous illnesses as a result of their sleep problems. Doctors often diagnose these conditions separately, but don’t make the link to sleep apnea.
Possibly the most characteristic link is high blood pressure. If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you’re quite likely to have sleep apnea. That risk increases even more if your high blood pressure isn’t responding to treatment.
Sleep apnea is also associated with mood disorders like depression. People may also experience metabolic issues like diabetes or weight gain that persists despite diet and exercise changes.
There are common misdiagnoses associated with sleep apnea, too, such as low testosterone or hypothyroidism. These may be present, but they’re not the true cause–that’s sleep apnea.
If you have been diagnosed with any of these conditions and you’re a snorer, it’s time to get tested for sleep apnea.
We Can Treat Both Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Once you talk to a doctor and get a sleep test, you’ll find out whether you have sleep apnea or simple snoring. Then we have some good news for you: no matter which you have, we offer comfortable, convenient treatment alternatives. There’s no need for CPAP if you don’t think that’s right for you.
To learn more about options for sleep apnea treatment in River Edge, NJ, please call 201-546-8512 today for an appointment with sleep dentist Dr. Marlen Martirossian at the River Edge Dental Center for TMJ, Sleep Apnea, & Reconstructive Dentistry.