Simple Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Is there a relationship between snoring and sleep apnea?

This question has been written because of the questions from you. Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are two different conditions that occur with the same mechanism and are seen in continuation of each other.

Most patients with sleep apnea had snoring; sleep apnea may not be seen in every patient snoring. Snoring is a sound caused by the vibration of narrowed airways; obstructive sleep apnea is a respiratory arrest that occurs due to complete closure of these airway areas. In obstructive sleep apnea, there is airway stenosis and abnormally high airway resistance during the passage of breath. In other words, snoring is natural at the onset of obstructive sleep apnea. For example, if a person falls asleep, snoring occurs first as the tissue loosening increases in the early stage of sleep, and deep apnea may occur in deep sleep where tissue loosening increases and sleep apnea may occur. In addition, as the result of insufficient functioning of the centers operating the respiratory muscles in the brain, the absence of respiratory effort and breathing stops is called "central sleep apnea". Snoring is not necessary before central sleep apnea. Except for these two main types of sleep apnea, the combination of two is called "mixed sleep apnea". Most sleep apneas are central sleep apneas and treatment requires the consultation of an ENT specialist who is interested in sleep medicine.

Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea most commonly affects middle-aged and elderly adults and overweight people, but obstructive sleep apnea can occur in everyone.

Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Loud snoring
  • Respiratory arrest during sleep
  • Sudden awakening accompanied by shortness of breath
  • Waking up with a mouth or sore throat
  • Waking up with chest pain
  • Morning headache
  • Having difficulty in concentration throughout the day
  • Mood changes, such as depression or irritability,
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure
These symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea can sometimes be confused with different diseases such as hypothyroidism and diabetes.

Symptoms of central sleep apnea

Causes of central sleep apnea include heart failure, stroke, and high altitude sleep. In the treatment of central sleep apnea, it is appropriate to use oxygen devices to support respiration during sleep.

Symptoms of central sleep apnea include:
  • Stopped or abnormal breathing during sleep
  • Sudden awakening accompanied by shortness of breath
  • Shortness of breath that relaxes when sitting up
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Concentration Difficulty
  • Mood changes
  • Morning headache
  • Snore
It is estimated that more than 90 million Americans suffer from "snoring" during sleep. Half of these people had "simple snoring" / "primary snoring"; the other half is thought to be a serious sleep disorder called "Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)" (Source:  American Sleep Apnea Association | Is it Snoring or Sleep ...).

Simple snoring or sleep apnea?

The problem, defined as "simple snoring", which is regarded as a disturbing condition only by the bed partner next to the patient and without the health risks and symptoms of sleep apnea syndrome, can normally be seen in many healthy individuals. The problem is only the vibration of the upper respiratory tract during sleep. The presence of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome should be considered in a patient who snores if he / she has some of the following complaints other than snoring:

Seeing another person stopping breathing during sleep (witnessed sleep apnea) daytime sleepiness and fatigue, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke (source >>

Don't take snoring as "normal"!

Understanding the differences between sleep apnea and simple snoring is the first step in the effective treatment of two conditions.

Generally, snoring can be thought of as a natural part of aging. While it may be true that snoring may increase with age and weight gain over time, it should not be considered an ordinary and standard health condition. Although OSA is almost always loud and frequent snoring; Snoring does not always mean OSA.

Do not underestimate health risks!

In OSA, the energy usage of our body changes, the release of stress hormones is triggered and it can make you feel tired and sleepy during the day. In addition, inadequate sleep, such as weight gain, memory loss, skin aging, and more, has potential adverse health effects.

There is also evidence that OSA can cause many risks, including high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, developing certain types of cancer, and sudden death. Treatment of both conditions can reduce these risks. There can be many different negative effects, including difficulty in focusing, impaired attention and alertness, and greater susceptibility to accidents.

Tonsillectomy + Palatoplasty + Uvulectomy Operations - Sleep Apnea Surgery

tonsillectomy with thermal welding device, soft palate resection, soft palate radiofrequency, partial uvulectomy operations

The photograph above belongs to a patient with complaints of waking up tired after sleep, respiratory arrest during sleep, and snoring. In the examination of the patient, nasal septum deviation, turbinate hypertrophy, tonsillar hypertrophy, elongated uvula, drooping soft palate were detected. Septoplasty, turbinate radiofrequency reduction, tonsillectomy with thermal welding device, soft palate resection, soft palate radiofrequency, partial uvulectomy operations were planned for the patient. There are images before and after the intraoral operations of the patient. Apart from these, cardio-style walking, jogging or swimming exercise in the form of free swimming, weight loss were recommended, the patient was advised to limit or stop smoking and alcohol use, and to stay away from muscle relaxants.

Murat Enoz, MD, Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgeon - ENT Doctor in Istanbul

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