There’s a lot of confusion about sleep apnea. Not many people are aware of what it is and what it does, using the name instead as a catch-all for any kind of sleeping problems they may be having. This has led many people to mistake their sleep symptoms for that of sleep apnea when they may be suffering from another condition instead.
The Sleep Foundation describes sleep apnea as a “disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep”. The same organization also reveals that 5-20% of the adult population is suffering from this condition.
With so many people misdiagnosing themselves with sleep apnea, many myths have arisen that lead to confusion. Today, we at Marc J. Beshar Dentistry want to take the time to clear up some of these myths so that you can have a full understanding of this condition and how it might affect you.
Sleep Apnea Is Nothing More Than The Common Snore
While the two are related, snoring and sleep apnea are very different. Snoring specifically refers to the sound created by the respiratory structures in your body when breathing while asleep. In particular, this sound is caused when the air movement is obstructed.
Sleep apnea is very similar to snoring, but more extreme. Sleep apnea results when your airway becomes blocked, preventing you from breathing for multiple seconds. There are many symptoms of sleep apnea, of which snoring is just one.
Only Older People Get Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea affects more than just the elderly. A study from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute showed that people with small airways or allergies are most at risk for sleep apnea. Patients who are overweight are susceptible, and men have proven to be more likely to develop the condition than women.
Children can also develop sleep apnea, though on a much lesser scale than adults. This condition causes children to develop behavioral problems associated with ADHD, leading many of them to be misdiagnosed.
Alcohol Could Help You Sleep
This is a carry-over from older times, when alcohol served as the solution to most unexplainable ailments. Unfortunately, alcohol is more likely to worsen your symptoms then alleviate them.
Alcohol relaxes the muscles in the back of your throat. This can further obstruct your airways, making it even more likely that you’ll experience negative side effects associated with sleep apnea.
The Best Solution For Sleep Apnea Is Surgery
Surgery is the last solution considered for a patient suffering from sleep apnea. Patients suffering from these conditions have a lot more options other than surgery, such as positional therapy and use of a CPAP machine. Neither of these methods require surgery, making them the preferred course of treatment.
When the patient is experiencing sleep apnea due to their tonsils or another condition, then surgery may be the more appropriate treatment option. The cause of your condition and the best solution to fix it will be discussed during your consultation with Dr. Marc J. Beshar.
Sleep Apnea Isn’t Dangerous And Can Be Ignored
We must caution any patient who chooses to ignore treating their sleep apnea. This can be not only dangerous for you, but for others around you. In an article posted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, it was revealed that patients with sleep apnea are 2.5 times more likely to be involved in a car accident. This same study showed that the chances of this happening were reduced by 70 percent for patients receiving treatment for their sleep apnea with a CPAP machine.
Treating your sleep apnea is for your own good as well. Not waking up well-rested can have many negative effects on your life, ranging from depression to memory problems and hallucinations.
Sleeping On Your Back Is Best For Your Breathing
Sleeping on your back is one of the worst things you could do for your sleep apnea. When you sleep on your back, the tissues in your throat get pulled down. This makes them much more likely to block your airway. Instead, you should sleep on your side; this will open your throat instead.
Many tools made to help patients with sleep apnea work by helping position your body in a way that keeps your airways open. This includes special pillows meant to keep you on your side, as well as braces with bumps along the back that will feel uncomfortable if you try to sleep on your back.
Have Your Sleep Apnea Questions Answered By A Professional
Have you heard something about sleep apnea recently that you aren’t sure is true or not? With the internet full of misinformation and unclear facts, it is important that you bring your questions and concerns to a professional. Contact our office and speak with Dr. Marc J. Beshar today. The relief you need is only a phone call away, so don’t hesitate any longer.