Snoring is not the same as sleep apnea. In fact, snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea. However, it's also possible for a person to snore but have a very normal sleeping experience. Normally, a sleep apnea patient is a very loud snorer who can disturb other people's sleep with their snoring sounds.
Sleep apnea is a serious sleeping disturbance where a person may be unable to attain deep sleep due to certain breathing interruptions. When such a patient falls asleep, the tongue can drop back and obstruct the airway, causing difficulties in breathing. Moreover, if a patient has large tonsils or is overweight, it will be difficult for the throat to stay open, resulting in breathing issues. As a result of the obstruction in the airway, a sleep apnea sufferer will snore loudly. Moreover, since they don't gain enough oxygen to profuse the brain and the heart, serious conditions like heart disease and sudden death can easily result, too.
During a typical episode of sleep apnea, a patient will fall asleep and start snoring. Once their air way gets closed off, they will essentially not be breathing. Then, once again, they will get to the point of breathing again and snoring. If you listen to a loved one having this kind of episode, there's good chance that you will feel as if he or she is not breathing. Essentially, a sleep apnea patient will snore with a loud disturbing noise with interrupted breathing phases. As a result of these breathing interruptions, sleep apnea is regarded as a very serious issue. In fact, modern statistics show that if sleep apnea is diagnosed and not treated in a patient, his or her life expectancy can be reduced by 12 years. Such patients most probably can die from sudden death or cardiovascular disease.