Are You Just Snoring Or Is It Sleep Apnea?

Millions of Americans snore while they sleep, but how can you tell when your snoring is actually a sign of a more serious condition? Sleep apnea, specifically Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), is a serious sleep disorder characterized by loud, disruptive snoring.

For those of you in the Fredericksburg, VA area, the dentist office of Dr. Lloyd F. Moss, Jr. and Dr. Lloyd F. Moss, III, is a great option if you’re concerned about your sleeping habits. We offer treatments for snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea.

An in-person consultation is a great place to start if you think you could have sleep apnea. Until then, check out some of our tips below for distinguishing between normal snoring and sleep apnea then continue reading for some treatment options that are available.

Snoring VS Sleep Apnea

Snoring, for the most part, is relatively harmless. Sure, it may be annoying for anyone in earshot of you when you sleep, but it’s not an immediate cause for concern.

Snoring happens when the tissues in your throat relax as you sleep, causing them to partially block the airway. The vibrations of the tissues are what makes the sound you hear. Your anatomy, lifestyle, and body weight will determine how loud or soft the vibrations will be.

On the other hand, loud, constant snoring is one common symptom of sleep apnea. The condition is characterized by shallow breaths or pauses in your breathing while you sleep. People with OSA can actually stop breathing for a few seconds to over a minute. Additional symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Waking up with a dry or sore throat
  • Waking up with a gasping or choking feeling
  • Fatigue during the day
  • Morning headaches
  • Insomnia or inability to stay asleep
  • Restless sleep
  • Frequent daytime sleepiness

If you notice any of these symptoms, it could be a sign that you have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can also cause the release of stress hormones, contributing to your daily fatigue. There is also evidence that links OSA to a higher risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, heart attack, and certain cancers.

The best way to help you figure out if you’re just snoring or suffering from obstructive sleep apnea is to undergo a medical sleep study. We can work with your personal doctor or a sleep center here in Fredericksburg, VA to help make sure you get the testing you need for a proper diagnosis.

Treatment Options For Snoring And Sleep Apnea

  • CPAP Machines for Sleep Apnea

If it is discovered that you do have sleep apnea, you may be recommended a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP, machine. They’re seen at the most effective treatment for OSA. A CPAP machine keeps your airway open while you sleep, to prevent snoring and to keep you breathing.

  • Dental Solutions for Snoring or Sleep Apnea

We can also help treat your snoring or mild to moderate sleep apnea with a customized oral mouthpiece appliance. A mouthguard keeps your airway open while you sleep. If you don’t actually have sleep apnea, a dental device is still a great option to help with the frequency and volume of your snoring.

There are two common types of mouthguards: a mandibular advancement device and a tongue retaining device.

      • A mandibular advancement device is the most commonly used oral device for treating sleep apnea. The mouthpiece works by positioning your jaw slightly forward to open your airway.
      • A tongue retaining device is a splint that holds your tongue in place to keep your airway open while you sleep.
  • Lifestyle changes:
    • Losing weight
    • Not drinking alcohol
    • Not taking sleeping pills
    • Changing sleep positions
    • Stopping smoking

Find Relief From Snoring & Sleep Apnea

While snoring is more annoying than anything else, sleep apnea could put your life at risk. Dr. Moss can help find a treatment that’s right for you. Call (540) 369-4926 to make an appointment or schedule a consultation. You can also visit our website to find out more information.