Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that affects the way you breathe while you sleep, whereas snoring is a noise that happens when air moves through relaxed tissues in your throat while you sleep. The two are often linked together but can sleep apnea exist without snoring?
In this article, we’ll explore what sleep apnea and snoring are, their association with one another and answer whether or not sleep apnea can exist without snoring.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction of the upper airway, which causes pauses in breathing during sleep that last anywhere from 10 seconds up to more than a minute. These pauses in breathing can happen up to 30 times or more per hour, and are caused by the relaxation of throat muscles during sleep, resulting in a collapse of the airway.
There are two types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by an obstruction of the upper airway that results in pauses in breathing while sleeping; it affects 10 to 20 per cent of adults.
- Central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs when signals from your brain to your muscles that control breathing do not function properly. It affects about 4 per cent of adults who have sleep apnea.
What Is Snoring?
Snoring is caused by an obstruction or narrowing of your throat or airway due to the relaxation of throat muscles while sleeping. It is a noise that happens when air moves through relaxed tissues in your throat, which causes the tissue to vibrate and create a snoring sound. Snoring can be caused by sleep apnea or other medical conditions such as allergies, sinus problems, and obesity.
The Association Between Sleep Apnea and Snoring
Sleep apnea and snoring are often linked together because sleep apnea can cause snoring; however, not all people who snore have sleep apnea. Although snoring is commonly associated with sleep apnea, you can have sleep apnea without snoring. There are many cases of sleep apnea where the person does not snore and has no prior history of snoring.
Can Sleep Apnea Exist Without Snoring?
Yes, sleep apnea can exist without snoring. As mentioned above, sleep apnea is caused by the relaxation of throat muscles during sleep, resulting in an obstruction of the upper airway, which causes pauses in breathing while sleeping. This can happen with or without snoring. In cases where sleep apnea exists, but there is no snoring, this could be due to a combination of factors such as age, anatomy, weight and lifestyle choices like smoking.
In conclusion, sleep apnea and snoring are linked together, but they can also exist independently; sleep apnea can exist without snoring. It is essential to get checked out by a sleep specialist if you are experiencing sleep apnea symptoms such as pauses in breathing while sleeping or daytime sleepiness even after a whole night of sleep.
1. What causes sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction of the upper airway that results in pauses in breathing while sleeping. It can be caused by the relaxation of throat muscles during sleep, resulting in airway collapse.
2. Does snoring permanently mean someone has sleep apnea?
No, snoring does not always mean someone has sleep apnea; although snoring and sleep apnea are often associated with one another, they can exist independently.
3. What should I do if I think I have sleep apnea?
If you think you may have sleep apnea, it is essential to get checked out by a sleep specialist, as sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems if left untreated. The sleep specialist will be able to assess your sleep and determine whether or not you have sleep apnea.