Debunking 3 Common Myths About Sleep Apnea

The breathing disorder known as sleep apnea somehow manages to be both wide-spread and widely misunderstood. Unfortunately, this has a lot to do with the prevalence of erroneous myths. If you would like to get your facts straight where sleep apnea is concerned, read on. This article will debunk three of the most persistent myths.

Sleep apnea is just another name for snoring.

There's a good reason why these two are so often confused: people with sleep apnea usually do a fair amount of snoring. Yet--spouses aside--snoring is relatively harmless. Sleep apnea, on the other hand, can affect your life for the worse by causing excessive amounts of daytime sleepiness.

Sleep apnea is characterized by an excessively narrow airway. This happens when muscles in the back of the throat relax, thus preventing you from taking in the oxygen you need. As a result, your brain sends a signal to wake up. Then, when you fall back asleep a few seconds later, the whole pattern repeats itself--over and over and over again. 

There is nothing dangerous about sleep apnea.

It's true that sleep apnea in itself is relatively harmless. Yet, because sleep apnea leads to a near constant cycle of waking up and falling back to sleep, it can have serious effects on your body and your mind. For one thing, those with sleep apnea have been found to be at twice the risk of being involved in a car accident.

Sleep apnea also appears to present additional risks for women. A recent long-term study has found that women afflicted with the disorder stood a thirty percent greater chance of developing cardiac problems. Curiously, this same effect was not seen in men.

There is no cure for sleep apnea.

This belief isn't wrong so much as it is misinformed. While there is no pill you can take that will cure your sleep apnea forever, there are a wide variety of options for managing the problem. One of the most effective and most common is an orthopedic mouthpiece known as a mandibular repositioning device, or MRD.

An MRD is worn at night while you sleep. It works by physically pushing your jaw and tongue forward. This helps to increase the diameter of the airway, thus reducing the likelihood that obstructed breathing will wake you during the night. An MRD will not be effective unless it is specially fitted for your mouth for a dentist or orthodontist familiar with their use.

Therefore, if you think that you may be suffering from sleep apnea, it's a good idea to schedule a dental visit as soon as possible, in order to talk about the right treatment option for you. Contact a company like Northern Care Inc Prosthetics & Orthotics for more information.