Sleep apnea is a widespread condition that affects many people around the world, and yet there remain misconceptions about what sleep apnea is and who is affected by it. These misconceptions can add unnecessary confusion about this sleeping disorder when the information is available if you do your research. Here are some of the more common rumors about sleep apnea, and why they aren’t true:
Myth #1: Snoring Means You Have Sleep Apnea
While snoring can be an indicator that you have sleep apnea, it could also be something else! Allergies or an awkward sleeping position both can cause snoring. It’s only when snoring becomes an everyday occurrence that you should consider a sleep study.
Myth #2: You Have to X Years Old to Have Sleep Apnea
This is just not true. Anyone—a child, a teenager, or an adult could all develop sleep apnea at any age. One famous example of pediatric sleep apnea is Mike Napoli, who had sleep apnea as a child but wasn’t diagnosed until he was an adult. This almost cost him his Major League baseball career. It is more common for adults to develop sleep apnea because their throat muscles become weaker with age, but it’s not a requirement by any means.
Myth #3: Sleep Apnea Can’t Hurt You
Sleep apnea, in its most straightforward sense, means that you stop breathing at night. Full stop. Your body automatically will wake itself to breathe when something of that nature happens, but that brief lack of oxygen could still have a detrimental effect on your health. When your body cannot collect oxygen during the night, it cannot rest, and if you cannot rest, you will be drowsy throughout the day. Sleep deprivation is just as dangerous of impairment as alcohol or drugs, even if it doesn’t seem so.
Sleep apnea treatment will help alleviate these symptoms and provide you with a better night’s sleep. You’ll feel better, and your body will thank you.
Myth #4: Your Only Treatment Option is a CPAP Machine
Lots of people do use CPAP machines; there’s a reason that’s the first kind of treatment that comes to mind, after all, but it’s far from the only one available. Ask your doctor about different options, like an oral appliance that you can get from the dentist. The best treatment will vary from person to person, so don’t be afraid to ask questions to find it, if you do develop sleep apnea.