Sleeping disorders can be frustrating and overwhelming to deal with, especially sleep apnea. There are a lot of misconceptions circling around sleep apnea, and while the disorder may have some unpleasant side effects, treatment is easier than most people think. Here are some common myths about sleep apnea.

Age matters:

Many people think that they are too young to develop sleep apnea, and that it generally affects the older generation. This is a common misconception. Anybody can develop sleep apnea, despite their age. The disorder is more prevalent in people over the age of 40, but it’s completely possible to develop sleep apnea at any age — even as young as five years old. There are also some characteristics that make people more prone to developing the disorder, such as being overweight, being male, or being African American or Latino.

It’s harmless:

Many people see sleep apnea as nothing more than a minor inconvenience, and this could not be further from the truth. Not only does sleep apnea cause severe drowsiness and inability to focus, but it can also seriously increase your risk of getting into an accident while driving and injuring other people. People who suffer from sleep deprivation are also 27% more likely to become overweight or obese. Aside from that, untreated sleep apnea also has long term health consequences like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.

Limited treatment options:

There has never been so many options to treat obstructive sleep apnea. Many patients are not compliant with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) for a variety of reasons leaving them untreated. If patients are sensitive to the noise of the CPAP machine or feel claustrophobic by the mask, they may consider oral appliance therapy in conjunction with cognitive behavior therapy, nutritional counseling and physical therapy. Talk with your doctor about your concerns. They may be able to recommend a specialist who can determine the best course of treatment for you.

Snoring=sleep apnea

Just because you snore does not mean you have sleep apnea. Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, and not everyone who has sleep apnea snores. If you snore and often experience other sleep apnea symptoms such as chronic fatigue or irritability, talk to your doctor.

Ultimately, equipping yourself with knowledge is the first step to successfully treating sleep apnea. There are many different treatment options available — it’s just a matter of finding one that works for you. For more information about sleep apnea treatment, visit TMJ Sleep Centre.