Have you been struggling to get a good night’s sleep? Are you waking up feeling tired in the morning? Many patients suffer from sleep apnea, and you could be one of them. Our team has developed these 7 sleep apnea myths, designed from questions our patients have asked us. Learn more about sleep apnea, and when you are ready, give our helpful team a call.
Myth #1 – “Sleep apnea won’t affect my health that much.”
Sleep apnea cases range from mild to severe, with more serious diagnoses increasing the risk of heart conditions, diabetes, and liver problems. The condition causes disturbances in the upper airways, preventing healthy breathing and the body from entering the restorative stages of sleep. Studies can link many chronic illnesses to sleep apnea, and in some cases, reduce life expectancy by up to 15 years. Finding suitable treatments to manage the condition can be beneficial to improving the outlook and symptoms associated with apnea, which is why it is important for many patients to understand the impact of the condition in order to improve their overall health.
Myth #2 – “Sleep apnea only happens to people who are overweight or obese.”
40% of those diagnosed struggle with weight issues, causing a continued stigma surrounding obesity and sleep apnea. This can result in many potential patients without weight issues missing opportunities for diagnosis and losing out on the essential care they need. Although excessive weight increases the risk of collapsing tissues in the roof of the mouth (known medically as the soft palate), many people with key symptoms of concern can also have a healthy weight and body size. As sleep science continues to develop, studies have shown a range of genetic factors can lead to apnea, including gender, lifestyle choices, and even the structural size of your neck!
Myth #3 – “I don’t snore, so I don’t have sleep apnea.”
Diagnosing apnea through snoring alone can be difficult for medical professionals to achieve, as many of us aren’t aware of the sounds or movements that we make during the night. Those with sleep partners or particularly prominent symptoms may be able to pinpoint signs of apnea quicker, but this is not always possible for some. Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, but not for central sleep apnea, which affects up to 10% of patients who undergo sleep studies and attend laboratories in investigations. This type of breathing restriction is caused instead by the brain, which misses the crucial signalling needed to alert the muscles to breathe while unconscious. Central sleep apnea may present in a softer type of snoring or breathing disturbance, which your sleep partner or doctor can miss.
Myth #4 – My child is too young to have sleep apnea
Unfortunately, you are never too young to develop sleep apnea. Many cases in children come from enlarged tonsils and adenoids, although obesity also accounts for 33% of patients. Sleep specialists believe the smaller upper airway of children increases the risk of apnea when additional pressure, such as abnormalities or fatty tissue is put on the respiratory system. These cases are often difficult to diagnose in patients, as they rely primarily on the parent spotting irregular breathing patterns during the night or clear daytime symptoms in their child.
Myth #4 – “I can manage my sleep apnea without treatment
It would be best if you always aimed to treat and manage apnea rather than only relieve immediate symptoms, as this can improve your overall health and management of the condition. There are many treatments available to support patients and improve health, with high success rates in eliminating snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. The team at Sleep Cycle Center focuses on a holistic view of sleep health, using a combination of services and strategies to improve lives. Dedicated treatment plans, including other interventions such as weight loss, dieting, psychology, and even ENT referrals, can all be beneficial to managing the condition. Contact our team to discuss our comprehensive treatment plans and service providers for further information.
Myth #6 – Sleeping pills are a safe method of treatment
Sleeping pills can aid restless sleep but often pose significant risks for sleep apnea patients. If you’re undiagnosed, it can be easy to assume unexplained fatigue, headaches, and poor focus are the result of a bad night’s sleep, only to feel worse the morning after using sleeping pills. The sedating effects of many sleep medications increase the relaxation in the throat, making periods without breathing longer and worsening symptoms in the morning. Patients prescribed sleep medication with apnea symptoms should always discuss the benefits and risks of their treatment plans with their doctor.
Myth #7- CPAP is the only treatment
CPAP machines prevent breathing interruptions caused by sleep apnea, keeping your airways open and relieving daytime symptoms. The device is fitted with a mask covering the mouth or nose and, in some cases, both. Air is sent from the machine into the upper respiratory system, preventing collapse or narrowing of the area. Many people experience discomfort and difficulty falling asleep with CPAP machines, with reports of anxiety, nasal congestion, and nosebleeds common when first starting treatment. Fortunately, developments in sleep science have allowed patients to explore alternative options to tackle their sleep apnea, such as mouthpieces and oral appliances, which target adjusting the lower jaw for those with milder cases. Our Sleep Cycle Center team focuses on oral devices and alternative therapies to CPAP machines.
Are you considering treatment options for sleep apnea? Call us to schedule an appointment today! The experienced staff at The Sleep Cycle Center will help you get to the bottom of your sleep problems and get you back to sleeping great. We hope you found these 7 sleep apnea myths helpful and hope to see you soon.
Contact Us Today to schedule your appointment:
Phone: (512) 645-0818
Fax: (512) 645-0646