The answer to your question is No, not all snoring is sleep apnea. It is a disorder characterized by frequent pauses or breaks in breathing.
While the number of people suffering from this is increasing day by day, it will not be right to assume that all snoring is the disease. Today, however, 80% of sleep apnea goes undiagnosed. If untreated, it can lead to serious health problems like heart failure or stroke.
So how do you understand if it is ordinary snoring or sleep apnea? Here are a few symptoms which help you to identify it:
Breaks or pauses in breathing while sleeping: If you feel that your breathing is pausing often, it can be a symptom of the disease. In obstructive sleep apnea, where breathing is interrupted by a physical blockage in the air passage to your body, the fatty tissues of the tongue or the throat relax.
This prevents the airflow into your body causing you to stop breathing for a few seconds. As a result, the oxygen level n your blood drops because of which your brain wakes itself up to jump start your respiratory system into working properly again.
However, although your brain wakes up, you remain partially awake without realizing that you are awake, thus leading to disturbed sleep or snoring.
Waking up with headaches: Patients often complain of headaches. Since they stop breathing at regular intervals, less oxygen makes way to the brain. The low level of oxygen widens the blood vessels causing headaches. Moreover, this may be accompanied with daytime drowsiness since the patient does not get a good night’s sleep.
Suffering from High Blood Pressure: Hypertension is closely linked to this disorder. The reason can be same as that of a headache. Since due to frequent pauses in the breath, the oxygen level into the blood vessels goes down leading to increased blood pressure. And while this happens constantly at night, the body gets used to the high blood pressure, and that remains even while you breathe normally during the day.
Overweight: A person’s body weight has a lot to do with the disease. People with higher weight are prone to this disorder than people with healthier weights. Excessive fatty tissue in the neck and throat can cause the tissues to fall back and block the airway. This causes obstruction and leads to sleep apnea. If the neck circumference of a man is greater than 17 inches and a woman is more than 16 inches, there is a higher risk of sleep apnea.
Irritation, mood swings and depression: The lack of sleep in is responsible for irritation mood swings and even depression. It is not a healthy thing to not rest properly at night every single night. Such patients are irritable, short tempered and often remain depressed for a long time.
If you think any of the above doesn’t match, then maybe it is just ordinary snoring. In that case, you might want to know how to control snoring while sleeping naturally to lose your peace of mind over snoring.