North Austin

Snoring vs. Sleep Apnea

Man laying in bed on his back snoring

Do you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night due to snoring? You’re not alone. Snoring is a common problem that impacts nearly a quarter of the American population. However, it can also serve as an indication of sleep apnea, a condition with potential serious health implications if left untreated. 

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of distinguishing between snoring and sleep apnea, and how the expert team at Austin ENT & Allergy can help diagnoses and treatment. 

What is the Difference Between Snoring and Sleep Apnea?

Snoring occurs when loose tissues and structures in the throat move as air passes over them during sleep. While it can disrupt a good night’s sleep, snoring itself typically does not lead to significant health issues. You might wake up with a dry mouth, a sore throat, or feeling somewhat fatigued.
On the other hand, sleep apnea involves temporary blockage of the airway during sleep, causing you to stop breathing for short periods. This happens due to the involuntary relaxation of throat muscles. Snoring is often the first symptom of sleep apnea, followed by instances of choking or gasping as the body attempts to clear the airway. If left untreated, sleep apnea can have profound effects on your health and well-being, including:
  • Cardiovascular disease: Untreated sleep apnea increases the risk of heart disease, irregular heart rhythms, and stroke. 
  • High blood pressure: Repeated breathing interruptions during the night can lead to hypertension. 
  • Type 2 diabetes: Sleep apnea is linked to insulin resistance and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. 
  • Headaches: Morning headaches may result from poor sleep quality due to sleep apnea
  • Daytime sleepiness: Sleep apnea can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, affecting concentration, memory, and causing accidents.
  • Weight gain: Disrupted metabolism from sleep apnea can make it challenging to lose weight and may lead to weight gain. 


Older woman covers ears in bed due to her husbands snoring

What Steps Can I Take To Alleviate Sleep Apnea Symptoms? 

If you snore regularly or think you have sleep apnea, there are a number of steps you can take to alleviate the symptoms. Maintaining a healthy weight and diet can strengthen throat muscles, while avoiding alcohol and smoking promotes a healthy airway. 

However, the most precise method to confirm sleep apnea is through a formal diagnosis via a polysomnogram or “sleep study,” conducted either in a sleep lab or through an at-home sleep test. Given the potential for serious health consequences if left untreated, seeking medical attention when there’s suspicion of sleep apnea is crucial.

Schedule a Consultation Today!

At Austin ENT & Allergy, our team of experts can help diagnose and treat sleep apnea. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards better sleep and better health. 

Other Insights

Your North Austin Ear, Nose, Throat, Allergy and Audiology Experts

Treating patients of all ages with compassionate, advanced care.

Se Habla Español