You may not know it, but we’re currently right smack in the middle of Sleeptember! Nope, not September. SLEEPtember. That’s right. For those of you are unaware, Sleeptember is the American Sleep Apnea Association’s annual month-long initiative to raise awareness for sleep apnea, a disorder that affects millions of Americans.
Here at SoClean, we’re doing everything we can to support Sleeptember, including donating $5 to the American Sleep Apnea Association for every SoClean Automated CPAP Equipment Cleaner purchased throughout the entire month and hosting a CPAP tips sweepstakes over on the SoClean Facebook page. But in the spirit of promoting sleep apnea awareness and education, we thought we’d spend some time dispelling some of the common sleep apnea myths that it’s time for people to stop believing.
Sleep Apnea Myth #1: Snoring may be a nuisance, but it’s harmless.
The Truth: Although this may be the case for many people, snoring can also be a sign of sleep apnea. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, obstructive sleep apnea “is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep.” People who suffer from this disorder stop breathing while they sleep – sometimes up to 100 times per night and for one minute or more at a time.
If that’s not scary enough, consider this: If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and other potentially serious health issues. That said, it’s important to understand the symptoms of sleep apnea and get tested for this disorder if you believe you may have it so that you can begin CPAP therapy or another effective form of treatment as soon as possible.
Sleep Apnea Myth #2: Only older men who are overweight have sleep apnea.
The Truth: It’s true that men are twice as likely as women to have obstructive sleep apnea. It’s also true that being overweight, having a large neck circumference and being over the age of 40 are other well-known risk factors of this sleep disorder. But it’s important to realize that sleep apnea also affects individuals who don’t fit the mold of a stereotypical sleep apnea patient.
According to sleep specialist Grace Pien, women are actually more likely than men to have undiagnosed sleep apnea, as they tend to experience different symptoms than their male
counterparts. While men often exhibit the telltale symptoms of obesity and snoring, women are more likely to suffer from insomnia, disrupted sleep, chronic fatigue and depression, all of which are commonly misdiagnosed as other health issues.
And children aren’t immune to sleep apnea, either. Data from the American Sleep Apnea Association reveals that up to 4% of children have sleep apnea – and that it can begin as young as two years old. Like women, children are often misdiagnosed; their symptoms are commonly misidentified as ADHD and other behavioral problems.
Sleep Apnea Myth #3: I need to get surgery to treat my sleep apnea.
The Truth: As Easy Breathe points out, surgery was once the only effective method for treating sleep apnea, but thankfully, things have changed. These days, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy is considered the gold-standard treatment for sleep apnea, and it doesn’t involve doing anything traumatic to your body. Whew!
CPAP therapy works by increasing air pressure in the throat so that your airway doesn’t collapse. Using a CPAP mask can take some getting used to, but with the right approach, you can learn to love your CPAP in no time.
Sleep Apnea Myth #4: Sleep apnea will interfere with my love life.
The Truth: Some people fear that suffering from sleep apnea and having to wear a CPAP mask at night will make them less desirable to their partner, but the vast majority of individuals who have this sleep disorder come to find that this isn’t the case at all.
The SoClean team recently compiled a list of dating tips for CPAP users, so we recommend checking it out if you’re feeling embarrassed about broaching the topic of your sleep apnea and CPAP therapy with your partner.
Now that we’ve set the record straight on these sleep apnea myths, don’t forget to enter SoClean’s CPAP tips sweepstakes over on the SoClean Facebook page or help us support the American Sleep Apnea Association by purchasing a SoClean Automated CPAP Equipment Cleaner!