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Understanding the Link Between Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring is a common nighttime occurrence. In fact, it is estimated that 45 percent of people snore occasionally, while one-fourth of all adults snore on a regular basis.

While you may not realize when you snore, anyone sharing the room with you certainly will! Snoring can disturb sleep and even put strain on a relationship as one person’s snoring keeps their partner from getting enough sleep.

What many people don’t know, however, is that snoring is quite often directly linked to obstructive sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder that causes temporary pauses in breathing throughout the night.

By better understanding the link between snoring and sleep apnea, you can determine if your spouse’s complaints require some extra investigation into your sleep health.

Shared Causes

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Both snoring and sleep apnea are essentially the result of obstructed breathing, caused by relaxed tissues in the throat. The sound of snoring occurs as air causes these relaxed tissues to vibrate while breathing in and out. Sleep apnea occurs when tissues in the throat relax to the point that they completely block the flow of air. Someone with sleep apnea will snore loudly as the throat tissues close off, after which there will be an abrupt pause as breathing stops entirely.

Notably, both snoring and sleep apnea are more likely to occur as you get older. Individuals who are overweight, men in general, and post-menopausal women are also more likely to snore regularly. Certain physical features, such as a long uvula or soft palate, as well as extra tissue in the back of the throat, can also make snoring and sleep apnea more likely.

Alcohol consumption before bedtime can also increase the likelihood of snoring and sleep apnea because of how it relaxes the throat muscles. In addition, sleeping on your back tends to make snoring and sleep apnea worse, while sleeping on your side can help alleviate both issues.

Does Snoring Mean You Have Sleep Apnea?

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After reading this, you could be tempted to think that all snoring is connected to sleep apnea. But while the conditions are often related, this isn’t always the case.

For example, snoring often occurs when an individual is suffering from nasal congestion. Occasional soft snoring generally isn’t a cause for concern.

Snoring is likely to be connected to obstructive sleep apnea when key symptoms are also present. Your spouse may observe pauses in breathing during your sleep, as well as instances where you appear to gasp or choke for breath. In addition, sleep apnea-fueled snoring is often so loud that it disrupts others’ sleep. This loud snoring is followed by abrupt quiet periods when the individual stops breathing, rather than the person continually snoring throughout the night.

Individuals who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea also experience extreme daytime sleepiness. This can cause trouble concentrating, and may even make them more likely to fall asleep while participating in normal activities like driving or watching TV. Individuals with sleep apnea often experience morning headaches and sore throats. They are also likely to develop high blood pressure that doesn’t go down even when taking medication.

Ongoing sleep deprivation from sleep apnea and extremely loud snoring can contribute to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, and other serious medical issues.

How to Address Sleep Apnea (and Snoring)

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The best way to mitigate sleep apnea is with the help of a CPAP machine. These machines provide a continuous flow of pressurized air throughout the night to help keep the throat’s soft tissues from collapsing. Users actually receive a prescription for their CPAP machine based on the severity of their condition, as observed during a sleep study.

In addition to the machine itself, users must also select a quality mask to fit over their face. The ideal mask should fit snugly, yet comfortably. Different mask types are available for different breathing and comfort preferences. For example, full-face masks are best suited for those who breathe through their mouth, while those with a milder CPAP setting could use less obtrusive nasal pillows.

While a CPAP machine is the best solution to address sleep apnea and related snoring, making a few other simple changes can also help reduce the severity of both issues. Sleeping on your side, instead of your back, is a simple trick to relieve both problems.

Taking steps to improve your overall health and wellness can also help with snoring and sleep apnea. Because these conditions are often the result of obesity, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet to achieve a healthy weight will also improve your sleep quality. Finally, avoid alcohol before bedtime as it is a known sleep disruptor and contributor to snoring and sleep apnea.

Get the Help You Need With No Insurance Medical Supplies

While a CPAP machine will go a long way in helping you mitigate obstructive sleep apnea, there is no denying that the cost of this equipment can become a burden, particularly if you don’t have health insurance. This is where No Insurance Medical Supplies can make a difference.

In addition to offering CPAP machines, masks, and accessories at discounted prices, individuals with a valid prescription for this equipment can also enjoy available interest-free financing on purchases of $500 or more through CareCredit, as well as leasing through TimePayment.

With more affordable options available, you don’t have to worry about needed medical equipment straining your budget. By using No Insurance Medical Supplies to get the care you need, you can put a stop to sleep apnea and snoring so you and your spouse can sleep better than ever.


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