Sleep Apnea Myths

Pasadena Texas Sleep Apnea Doctor

For a problem as common as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), it is disturbingly undiagnosed. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects approximately 20% of US adults, of whom about 90% are undiagnosed. Even more alarming is the general notion that sleep apnea is relatively harmless. Drs. Nugent and West advocate for the awareness of sleep apnea, and the many health consequences of leaving it undiagnosed and untreated. Today, we are exposing six of the most dangerous myths about OSA. Be sure to share them with family and friends – knowledge is power!

Sleep apnea only happens to overweight, middle-aged men

Truth: Sleep apnea is not exclusive to men, middle-aged patients, or people who are overweight. One journal showed that women make up about 45% of sleep study referrals. When it comes to weight, undiagnosed sleep apnea can contribute to weight gain, which in turn intensifies apnea in a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break. Although obesity does increases the risk of developing sleep apnea, individuals at a healthy weight can develop it too.

Snoring is annoying, but it’s not dangerous

Snoring is widely recognized as a risk factor for OSA. Snoring can definitely be a red flag for OSA and if it goes untreated, the consequences can be severe Loud, chronic snoring is one of the most frequently cited symptoms of sleep apnea. Untreated sleep apnea can take as much as twelve years off of life expectancy! However, it is important to note that you can snore and not have sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Pasadena TX

I don’t snore, so I don’t have sleep apnea

Even though snoring is often connected with sleep apnea, it is only one possible symptom. Many people with OSA do not snore, but exhibit other symptoms. If any of the following statements hit home for you, you may want to consider getting tested as soon as possible:

  • waking up with a headache, a sore throat, or a dry mouth
  • experience daytime sleepiness
  • weight gain or currently overweight
  • memory loss
  • high blood pressure
  • take blood pressure medication
  • irritability, mood swings, or depression
  •  insomnia

If you’ve noticed that your bed partner often gasps in their sleep, or stops breathing for several moments, that is another common symptom of sleep apnea.

 

Sleep Apnea increases your risk for other health problems.

Sleep apnea isn’t a big deal

Truth: Untreated OSA can put you at risk for a number of illnesses, conditions, and diseases, including:

and more health risks!

It can even increase your risk for motor-vehicle accidents. Untreated sleep apnea is not just a big deal, it can be fatal.

CPAP is the only option for treating sleep apnea

Intolerance to CPAP treatment is often the reason sleep apnea goes untreated. Many people simply cannot or will not tolerate the mask or the pressure of a CPAP machine. While their CPAP machine collects dust on their dresser, their symptoms and complications continue to worsen. There is an alternative to CPAP. One of the easiest is to wear a dentist made sleep appliance at night. This Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) gently pulls the lower jaw and tongue forward allowing for an increased airway. The MAD has no mask, no bulky tubes, no CPAP machine, no noise, and no discomfort. As more people and medical doctors become aware of this option, our hope is that the cases of undiagnosed or untreated apnea will decline dramatically.

CPAP or ORAL APPLIANCE

You have to spend the night in a sleep lab to be diagnosed

Many patients avoid being tested for sleep apnea because they incorrectly think the only way is to go to a sleep lab. These sleep labs are uncomfortable. You are hooked up to a plethora of wires, sleep in a foreign bed and people watch you while you sleep. There is another way! Home sleep tests are much easier, much more comfortable, and are very effective at diagnosing OSA.

Sleep Lab Test

HST Sleep Test Pasadena Texas

The sooner we can help dismiss these common sleep apnea myths, the sooner we can start to bringing the undiagnosed OSA rate down. Many patients report improvement in all aspects of their lives after beginning treatment. They have more energy, take better care of themselves, feel happier and more relaxed, their relationships improve, and their productivity increases dramatically. See how Drs. Nugent and West can help you get healthy. Visit our Pasadena, Texas dental office.

 

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