snoring vs. sleep apnea
WHAT IS SNORING?

Tongue in normal position, breathing through the nose, keeps the airway open during sleep to allow normal breathing.

During sleep, the jaw and tongue tend to relax and fall back toward the throat. This reduction in size of the airway will, in some individuals, cause the throat tissues to vibrate. Air being forced through this narrowed opening and the vibrations cause the noises we know as snoring. Snoring can be a sign of an underlying medical disorder known as sleep apnea. Untreated snoring may increase a person’s risk for the development of sleep apnea.

WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA?

Complete blockage of the airway occurs as the base of the tongue falls back against the palate forcing it against the airway back wall.

Sleep apnea occurs when the jaw and tongue fall back against the throat to an extent that the airway closes during sleep. During the closure it sometimes appears as if the person is trying to breath, but no air passes through to the lungs. Eventually, seconds to over a minute, the brain will wake to a lighter sleep stage and the muscles will tighten opening the airway allowing the person to breathe again, the person is rarely aware of these sleep interruptions.

SIGNS, SYMPTOMS AND POSSIBLE MEDICAL PROBLEMS:
Daytime sleepiness, tiredness
Loud snoring
Choking/gasping sensations while sleeping
Restless sleep
Morning headaches
Accidents due to sleepiness (auto, home, work related, etc.)
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Congestive heart failure
Arterial plaques
Myocardial arrhythmias (irregular heart beats)
Myocardial infarction (heart attacks)
Sudden cardiac death
Weight gain
Difficulty exercising
Decreased physical activity
Poor concentration
Irritability
Marital discord
Personality changes
Poor attention span
Reduced memory
Decreased sex drive
Impotence
Diabetes
Stroke
Acid reflux
Sleep Apnea is an extremely serious medical condition that should be evaluated for if suspected, and appropriately treated when present. The least of symptoms may only include persistent fatigue, while at the other extreme premature death is possible.
Epworth Sleepiness Scale How likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in the following situations? This refers to your usual way of life in recent times. Even if you have not done some of these things recently, try to work out how they would have likely affected you.
Use the following scale to choose the most appropriate number for each situation:
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