Sleep apnea is a disorder in which your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. With sleep apnea rising up to be one of the most prevalent sleep disorders worldwide, sleep apnea is becoming more common than you think. But how much do you know about sleep apnea?
Here are 8 myths about the condition debunked to better your knowledge.
- Sleep Apnea is harmless
While symptoms of sleep apnea like snoring or waking up to pee in the night may appear relatively harmless – Sleep apnea, when left untreated in the long term, can significantly increase your risks for diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes.
- Sleep Apnea is caused by a blocked airway
The most common type of sleep apnea, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), as the name proposed, is caused by a collapsed airway. However, Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) is caused by the brain signals to the muscles that regulate breathing is not properly transmitted, resulting in sleep apnea.
- Sleep Apnea only occurs in the elderly
While it is somewhat true that the risk of sleep apnea significantly increases as we age, sleep apnea does not only occur in the elderly. Children and young adults may also experience sleep apnea.
- Alcohol can help you sleep and improve sleep apnea
Contrary to popular belief that alcohol can help you sleep better, studies have shown that under the influence of alcohol, our muscles relax more than usual, which in turn increase the tendency for collapsed airways, leading to the development of sleep apnea.
- Children do not experience sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is common in children, affecting 1-10% of children. Common risk factors include premature birth, down syndrome, and obesity. If your child experiences sleeping difficulties or frequent lethargy, it is advisable for them to go for a sleep test.
- Lean people will not have sleep apnea
Although obesity is a major risk factor for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), it is estimated that non-obese patients constitute 20% of the OSA patient population. Worryingly, non-obese patients with OSA have greater than fourfold risk of hypertension and cardiovascular conditions than obese patients.
- Sleep Apnea only occurs in snorers.
While heavy and loud snoring is one of the symptoms of sleep apnea. It has been observed that patients with central sleep apnea rarely snore.
- Only men experience sleep apnea
While men do have a higher risk factor of sleep apnea than women, it does not rule out the fact that women can suffer from sleep apnea too. However, the risk for sleep apnea increases for women who are overweight or have experienced menopause.
Surprised by the results? While sleep apnea common may be more common than you think, the condition is totally preventable with early intervention. If you are worried about your sleep, get your FREE sleep assessment here.