While it’s no secret that sleep apnea can have a devastating effect on your health, there are many misconceptions about this disorder floating around. You need to take the time to learn the facts of sleep apnea so that you can take the appropriate action to deal with it. Below are 5 common sleep apnea myths and the truths behind them.
Myth 1: Snoring Always Means That You Have Sleep Apnea
Snoring is strongly associated with sleep apnea. In fact, it is estimated that about 70% to 95% of patients snore. That being said, if you snore, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re guaranteed to have sleep apnea. Generally speaking, snoring that occurs as a result of sleep-disordered breathing is also accompanied by other symptoms, such as feeling tired during the day or waking up gasping for air during the night.
The best way to figure out whether your snoring is caused by sleep apnea is to reach out to a sleep specialist so that they can help you have a sleep test performed.
Myth 2: Only Men Can Have Sleep Apnea
It’s true that men typically have a higher chance of developing sleep apnea. However, women can also potentially suffer from this disorder, especially after menopause. Women with sleep apnea tend to exhibit different symptoms than men; common examples include insomnia, morning headaches, and depression. It pays to be aware of the sleep apnea symptoms you need to look out for so that you know when to seek a diagnosis.
Myth 3: Sleep Apnea Will Eventually Go Away On Its Own
Some people opt to wait and see if their sleep apnea will eventually go away if they wait long enough. Unfortunately, this isn’t a good idea; sleep apnea is unlikely to get better without intervention of some kind, and the longer it goes untreated, the more likely it is to lead to dangerous health issues such as heart disease.
Myth 4: Alcohol Can Help If You Have Sleep Apnea
Some people believe that drinking alcohol right before bed will help them sleep better. The truth is that alcohol can interfere with your REM sleep, thus preventing you from getting quality slumber. On top of that, alcohol can relax the muscles in your throat, making them more likely to collapse and block your airways. In other words, drinking alcohol can potentially make existing sleep apnea even worse.
Myth 5: The Best Way to Treat Sleep Apnea is with Surgery
While sleep apnea can sometimes be treated with surgery, most experts recommend trying more conservative methods first. For example, oftentimes simply wearing an oral appliance is enough to keep your airway clear while you’re asleep. It’s best to consult a professional as soon as possible so that they can help you narrow down the type of sleep apnea treatment that’s right for you.
About the Practice
At Flenniken Family Dentistry, our experts are dedicated to bringing patients in Carlisle a comfortable, comprehensive dental experience. Among the many services that we provide, we are proud to offer custom-made oral appliances that can help reduce symptoms of sleep apnea. To schedule a consultation with our team, visit our website or call (717) 249-7777.