Although it is estimated that one in 15 adults in the United States has obstructive sleep apnea, it is a widely misunderstood sleep disorder. While people know sleep apnea makes it difficult for an individual to breathe throughout the night, they don’t realize the impact it can have on one’s health.
To help you better understand what obstructive sleep apnea is and how it impacts those that are diagnosed, ApneaMed has put together a quick guide to the most common misconceptions about sleep apnea.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
In a recent study, it was found that 89% of respondents believed they understood what sleep apnea is. However, their knowledge on the matter was found to be lacking. To clear the air, let’s dive into what exactly obstructive sleep apnea is.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes the individual to experience frequent breathing disruptions throughout the night where they stop breathing, causing them to snore, choke, or gasp for air. This is caused because the patient’s soft tissues of the throat collapse and cause a blockage in the passageway, preventing air from getting through and forcing them to reopen their airway.
Misconceptions of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
If you suspect that you or your partner may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, it’s essential to understand what you’re dealing with and get treatment right away. The amount of information on the Internet regarding sleep apnea can be overwhelming, which is why we’ve put together a quick breakdown of common sleep apnea misconceptions so you can feel confident in your understanding of the sleep disorder.
Sleep Apnea Is Only Exaggerated Snoring
While sleep apnea will likely cause the individual to snore, that isn’t the only negative of avoiding treatment. Although the snoring caused by sleep apnea may seem harmless, untreated sleep apnea can wreak havoc on the individual’s health, increasing their risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, hypertension, obesity, and more. It will also leave them feeling unrested and lethargic during the day, even after getting a full night’s sleep!
Sleep Apnea Only Impacts Overweight Individuals
Because sleep apnea is caused by collapsing the soft tissues in the throat, many people assume that only those classified as obese can be diagnosed with sleep apnea. While being overweight can increase the likelihood of sleep apnea due to the increased weight and pressure on the neck, an individual of any weight can be diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea.
Snoring Means an Individual Has Sleep Apnea
Frequently sleep apnea is discovered by a partner because they are awoken by the person’s snoring throughout the night. However, an individual can be a loud snorer without having sleep apnea. Snoring can be caused by sinus deviations or other health problems and does not always signify that the individual has obstructive sleep apnea. However, it is often a warning sign, and if the individual snores, they may want to get tested for sleep apnea for good measure.
CPAP Is the Only Treatment for Sleep Apnea
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is the most popular form of treatment for sleep apnea due to its effectiveness in keeping an individual’s airway open throughout the night. However, other forms of treatment, including tongue retaining devices, retainers, and even surgery, can help alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Testing and Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
If you have any signs or symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, you shouldn’t put off taking a sleep apnea test. Untreated sleep apnea can increase your risk of these health problems, make you feel fatigued, and cause headaches and dizziness. With ApneaMed’s home sleep test, a board-certified sleep physician will analyze your results, who will determine the correct form of treatment.
If you’re interested in a self-administered sleep apnea test from ApneaMed, contact our team to learn more.