If I snore loud, does it mean I have sleep apnea?

My wife is always complaining to me that I snore too much. She thinks this means I have sleep apnea and need to go to the doctor. My Dad snores and has for decades and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have sleep apnea. Do you know if loud snoring means I need to be concerned?

– Paul in Wisconsin

Paul,

Snoring occurs while you are sleeping because your tongue, along with your entire body, is in a relaxed state. The tongue is so relaxed that it covers up the airway and snoring is the end result. To answer your question, snoring does not automatically mean that you have sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a condition where the tongue actually blocks the airway altogether. This means that for a second or two, the individuals is starved of oxygen and it interrupts their breathing. Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, waking suddenly, shortness of breath upon wakening, or fatigue during daytime hours. Sleep apnea can be life threatening if it isn’t treated. A simple sleep study can help determine if you actually do have sleep apnea.

Or another treatment you may be interested in that may help you stop snoring once and for all can actually be obtained at a dentist office. This mandibular advancement appliance moves the jaw forward to keep the airway open. This popular mouthpiece is non-surgical and is worn overnight to help you stop snoring.

So you can tell your wife that snoring doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea. But if you have other symptoms or your wife tells you have other symptoms, it would be worth getting checked out. Often times it is the spouse that recognizes the signs because you are sleeping and unaware of what is going on during the night.

This post is sponsored by Phoenix dentist Arthur Chal Esthetic and Reconstructive Dentistry.

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