It is thought that only around 10 percent of sleep apnea sufferers are seeking treatment, and around 22 million Americans remain at risk. While they are better known today than they have been in the past, we still have a long way to go in spreading awareness about sleep apnea and other sleep disorders
As sleep apnea becomes more widely known, more and more people are talking about it. As information about the disorder circulates, it is important that the facts aren’t twisted, and misinformation isn’t spread. If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, you should talk to your doctor or sleep specialist for accurate information. But, in the meantime, we can help by busting the following sleep apnea myths.
Stop Believing These Five Sleep Apnea Myths
You don’t need sleep apnea treatment.
No! You should never leave obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) untreated. Sleep apnea, when left untreated, can leave you feeling chronically fatigued and can have a very negative impact on your quality of life. Sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea is also linked to many physical and mental health problems including stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease, and depression.
Only overweight men are at risk of OSA.
False. Several factors result in sleep apnea and it affects both men and women, regardless of their weight and age. However, being an overweight male with excess weight around the neck does increase the risk.
Other factors that increase the risk of sleep apnea in both men and women include:
- Age. Sleep apnea is usually diagnosed between young adulthood and middle age.
- Having narrow airways.
- Using sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and/or alcohol.
- Family history of sleep apnea.
Call your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms of sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring
- Waking with dry mouth and/or throat
- Waking up coughing or gasping for air
- Waking with a headache
- Weight gain
- Mood swings, depression, irritability
- Chronic fatigue
Being tested for sleep apnea is a hassle.
This was true at one time. It used to be that the only way to be tested for sleep apnea was to spend the night in a sleep clinic attached to many wires and machines. However, today, you can do a home sleep test. You wear a device at home in your bed for one night and send the results to your doctor or a sleep specialist who will evaluate your risk for sleep apnea.
Excessive snoring is normal.
Often, people who snore loudly shrug it off as something normal, especially as they age. They don’t see the snoring as an issue—even when it affects their partner’s ability to rest—because they sleep right through it. However, loud snoring is a sign that the airway has become partially, or even fully blocked, and that can be dangerous. Instead of sleeping restfully, your body is fighting for air.
Using a CPAP machine makes it harder to sleep.
While CPAP machines may take some getting used to, they do not hinder your sleep, but make it better. The CPAP provides continuous airflow, keeping your airways open while you sleep. This allows you to sleep peacefully instead of waking up for air multiple times throughout the night. You may not be fully aware that you are waking so much, but constantly trying to catch your breath is exhausting. Using a CPAP helps you to receive restorative rest. Many CPAP users report feeling an increase in energy and focus when using CPAP therapy.
You don’t have to spend your life exhausted! If you believe you are at risk for sleep apnea, seek help right away.
For information on sleep devices and products available to help treat sleep apnea visit us at Valley Sleep Therapy. Feel free to look through our online CPAP supplies store or visit us in Mesa, AZ today.