Sleep apnea is an extremely common condition impacting approximately 18 million Americans. In fact, a May 2013 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that the number of people impacted by sleep apnea is on the rise. Yet despite the widespread nature of this condition, many people still don't know the facts.
Here are 6 common misconceptions about sleep apnea, along with the correct information you need to know:
- Sleep apnea only impacts adults.
Sleep apnea can be hereditary. It's possible to inherit certain facial features such as large tonsils, a recessed chin, or a large overbite that puts you at risk of developing the condition. While sleep apnea predominantly affects adults, the hereditary nature of the condition means that children can develop it too.
The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates that approximately 4% of children have sleep apnea, and it can develop as young as age 2. By identifying these hereditary risk factors while your child is young, your child will be able to undergo sleep apnea treatment at an early age, reducing the risk of serious health conditions down the road.
- Sleep apnea only impacts males.
Most people erroneously assume obstructive sleep apnea only impacts men. However, there are many women who also suffer from this condition. Regardless of your gender, if you experience many of the most common sleep apnea symptoms, you should visit us at the Center for Dental Sleep Medicine to undergo a diagnostic exam.
- Snoring is harmless.
Snoring can be very embarrassing, but contrary to popular belief, it's not harmless. In many instances, it may be a sign that you suffer from sleep apnea. If your bed partner regularly complains about your loud snoring, you should undergo a sleep apnea diagnostic exam to determine if this is the cause of your problem.
- All CPAP machines are the same.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is one of the most common sleep apnea treatments. It involves the use of a mask that forces air into your nose and mouth in order to keep your airway and nasal passages open while you sleep.
Due to the awkward and uncomfortable nature of the CPAP machine, many people experience a low compliance rate when using this treatment option. However, there are a variety of different CPAP devices and you may find that a different model is more successful than the initial one used in your treatment.
You can also explore other sleep apnea treatment options, such as oral appliance therapy or DNA expansion orthodontic therapy.
- Sleep apnea only impacts people who are overweight.
While being overweight certainly places you at higher risk of developing sleep apnea, it's still possible for thin people to experience this dangerous condition. If you exhibit many of the common sleep apnea symptoms, regardless of your weight, you may want to undergo a diagnostic exam.
- It's not important to treat sleep apnea.
Nothing can be farther from the truth. While the immediate issues associated with sleep apnea such as daytime fatigue are certainly annoying, the long term health risks are downright scary. If left untreated, sleep apnea may increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure. It's crucial that you seek treatment as soon as possible to avoid these serious health risks.
If you believe you may be suffering from sleep apnea, please contact the Center for Dental Sleep Medicine using the form at the right side of the page or call 201-792-9400 today to schedule a diagnostic exam. We serve patients in Hoboken, Jersey City, and throughout Hudson County, New Jersey.