What is the difference between snoring and sleep apnea?
Both fall into the category of sleep disordered breathing. Simple snoring reprsents a mild disorder where breathing becomes very loud but the upper airway is only partially obstructed during sleep. Snoring is a common sypmtom of obstructive sleep apnea. However, unlike mild snoring, sleep apnea is a serious medical disorder that occurs because the airway is totally obstructed during sleep and the patient stops breathing completely for 10 seconds or more. In one night, a sleep apnea patient may experience 20 to 30 more "apneic events" (or involuntary breathing pauses). If your partner hears loud snoring punctuated by silences and then a snort or choking sound as you resume breathing, this pattern could signal sleep apnea.
Source: Academy of General Dentistry