Sleep disorders are a common topic in Anchorage due to our issues with too much or too little light. Sleep Apnea or Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) doesn’t have anything to do with light, but it is a sleep disorder that we are becoming more and more aware of these days. As with most topics that increase in popularity a lot of myths get mixed in with the facts. Today we are going to clear up some of the common misconceptions about sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea isn’t dangerous.
Sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea is a very real and hazardous thing. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that truck drivers suffering from untreated sleep apnea were five times more likely to get into an accident. This means that unfortunately, the consequences of this sleep disorder can affect more people than just the person dealing with it. Additionally, the health risks for the person with sleep apnea are also dangerous. If left untreated, it can increase the possibility of heart attack, stroke, obesity, high blood pressure, and even diabetes.
Sleep apnea and snoring are the same thing, right?
Snoring and sleep apnea are both are caused by the blocking of the respiratory tract. But that is where the similarities end. Snoring can be loud and disruptive, but that is usually the extent of it. However, the blockage that causes snoring could get so severe that it causes the sufferer to stop breathing up to hundreds of times each night. This is why loud and persistent snoring is usually an indicator that someone should get tested for sleep apnea.
I’m still young, so I’m not at risk for sleep apnea.
Men who are over the age of 40 and obese tend to be at the highest risk for sleep apnea. However, anyone can have it. Some in the medical industry speculate that the rise of sleep apnea in children could be due to the increasing number of obese kids. A growing number of dental specialists believe that sleep apnea stems from incorrect jaw growth as well as facial development during childhood.
I’ll need surgery to correct sleep apnea.
Outside of some very extreme cases, most people will not need surgery to correct their sleep apnea. One of the most common non-surgical treatments for sleep apnea is the CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure machine. A CPAP device gently blows the right amount of air directly into your airways to keep them open during the night. Another route is the orthodontic approach in which your dentist or orthodontist fits you with Othro-Tain or Myobrace appliances. Using the appliances, and with some time, some of the oral-facial issues can be corrected, thus solving or minimizing the sleep apnea problem.
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that can greatly affect your life or the life of a loved one. There are great options out there for treatment, so it is worth giving a specialist a call to get diagnosed and to explore all of the treatments available.