Snoring is the sound produced by relaxed tissues in your throat during sleep. There are many contributing factors that can cause snoring such as sedation with alcohol, obesity, nasal obstruction, and tonsillar enlargement.
If the snoring is severe and the amount of airflow to the lungs is disrupted this is known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Obstructive sleep apnea is a significant reduction in the amount of airflow or periods of no airflow that results in decreased oxygen to the lungs. The subsequent decrease in oxygen to the brain then no longer allows the patient to stay in a deep state of sleep resulting in excessive tiredness during the day, headaches, and inability to concentrate. Unlike snoring, obstructive sleep apnea can lead to hypertension, heart problems, lung problems, high risk of stroke, learning disabilities and motor vehicle accidents due to sleepiness. If you suspect that you or a loved one has sleep apnea, please notify your doctor and see a sleep medicine specialist or otolaryngologist.