Sleep apnea can be a scary medical condition, mostly because it is so real, present and common. Perhaps it is out of fear, or maybe denial, that people create myths about sleep apnea, but debunking these myths is one of the first steps to seeking treatment for the sleep disorder.
Also, clearing up some of these common misconceptions is crucial to help people learn more about this condition.
Here are 11 common myths about sleep apnea – some are true, some aren’t.
It’s just snoring. Snoring can be a symptom of the sleep disorder, but people with the condition actually stop breathing up to 400 times throughout the night.
It’s no big deal. All those breaks in sleep take a toll on your body and mind. When left untreated, it’s been linked to job-related injuries, car accidents, heart attacks, and strokes.
It blocks your breathing. This disorder happens when your tongue, tonsils, or other tissues in the back of the throat block your airway. When you try to breathe in, the air can’t get through.
Only older people get it. Doctors estimate that more than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea. It’s more common after age 40, but it can affect people of all ages.
Alcohol will help you sleep. Alcohol relaxes the muscles in the back of your throat, making it easier for the airway to become blocked in people with sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is rare in kids. It is common in children, affecting as many as 1 in 10, but in most cases, the child outgrows it.
Losing weight can help. You can make symptoms better when you shed even a small percentage of your body weight.
Lying on your side can help. If you sleep on your back, gravity can pull the tissues in the throat down, where they’re more likely to block your airway.
A mouthpiece might work, too. A dentist or orthodontist can fit you with a mouthpiece or oral appliance to ease mild sleep apnea.
CPAP is an effective treatment. A CPAP machine blows a steady stream of air into your airway to keep your airway open while you sleep.
Surgery is the surest way to fix apnea. Some patients can improve their symptoms with surgery to shrink or stiffen floppy tissues.
If you feel that you may be experiencing sleep apnea – don’t hesitate – call our office today to schedule a consultation. It can be scary, but it must be addressed!