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Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea - Topic Overview

Snoring is a major symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). But even though most people who have sleep apnea snore, not all people who snore have sleep apnea.

Snoring occurs when the flow of air from the mouth or nose to the lungs is disturbed during sleep, usually by a blockage or narrowing in the nose, mouth, or throat (airway).

Recommended Related to Sleep Apnea

Mouth Devices for Sleep Apnea

If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea -- a condition in which relaxation of the muscles around the tongue and throat causes the tissues to block airflow to the lungs while you sleep -- there are a number of treatment options to discuss with your doctor. Two of the most widely used and most effective are continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and dental appliances, or mouth guards.

Read the Mouth Devices for Sleep Apnea article > >

  • If you snore and do not have sleep apnea, your snoring is steady and does not disturb your sleep. You do not stop breathing and oxygen levels in your blood do not change.
  • In sleep apnea, how loud and how often you snore changes often. Your snoring disturbs your sleep, your breathing stops at times, and oxygen levels in your blood go down.

If you are overweight, you may have more tissue in your neck, which can press down on the airway at night and block some of the airflow. Although your breathing does not stop, your breaths may be smaller, so the oxygen levels in your blood may go down. You may snore loudly and sleep badly.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 25, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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