Snoring is considered a key factor in and symptom of sleep apnea and other sleep-related health concerns. But is snoring ALWAYS a sign of sleep apnea?
The short answer is no, just because you snore in your sleep does not mean you have sleep apnea. There is a range of causes for snoring. Allergies, sinus congestion, sleeping position, and even lifestyle habits such as alcohol consumption may lead to snoring at night. The important thing is to consider and evaluate any other symptoms that could indicate a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea. Is your snoring accompanied by:
- Feeling tired and groggy during the day
- Increasing moodiness and irritability
- Waking frequently feeling like you are gasping for air
It is also important to know and evaluate your personal risk factors for sleep apnea. If you are overweight or obese, diabetic, smoke, have elevated blood pressure, or have a larger neck circumference these factors could increase your risk for developing sleep apnea. Does a close relative have sleep apnea? This could also increase your risk especially if a parent. Although sleep apnea can be diagnosed at just about any age, the older we are the more our risk for sleep apnea goes up, especially if other risk factors are present.
Evaluating Your Risk for Sleep Apnea
If you snore and have other symptoms or risk factors, discussing your concerns and medical history with Dr. Harper is a good place to start. A consultation provides the opportunity to thoroughly evaluate your overall risk and to determine if a sleep study is in order. Diagnosing and treating a sleep disorder is important for more than just quieter sleep. Sleep apnea also introduces increased risks for larger health problems including heart attack and stroke.
The bottom line is if you snore regularly, considering these symptoms and risks is important for your long-term health. Sleep apnea is a serious health condition for many people. It also impacts your daily quality of life over time as you struggle with poor quality sleep. Feeling tired and irritable can affect your relationships and your career. There are great treatment options available today that can give you back your health, reduce or eliminate symptoms and allow you to sleep peacefully.