Addressing 7 Sleep Apnea Misconceptions

In a previous article, we talked about the importance of taking care of your health and the negative impacts treatment can sometimes have on your well-being and quality of life.

People’s decisions are very often influenced by the very real obstacles and difficulties they face when it comes to their treatment. Other times, misconceptions or just a lack of information about the condition and how to treat it can impact their decisions.

For example, some misconceptions keep people from visiting their doctor, even when they’re experiencing symptoms. Others keep people from heeding their diagnosis and following the recommendations from the therapists about sticking to the suggested treatment. And some people decide not to stick to their therapy or treatment due to legitimate worries that could be eased with the right information.

Here are seven misconceptions about sleep apnea and information to help set the record straight.

1. Only people between 40 and 60 years old suffer from sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea can affect men, women, and children at any age. However, some people are at an increased risk. For example, people aged 30 to 60 are likelier to suffer from sleep apnea, and men are more often affected than women.

2. Only overweight people are at risk for sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea can be caused by many factors, including the shape of the face and neck, the size of the upper airway and tonsils, age, sex, being overweight, allergies, the use of alcohol or certain medications, and smoking. People who have hypertension (high blood pressure), heart problems, depression, diabetes, and hypothyroidism also are at an increased risk.

3. Sleep apnea is hereditary.

 Sleep apnea is not hereditary, but members of the same family may develop the condition due to a shared risk factor such as obesity, face shape, etc.

4. If I’m diagnosed with sleep apnea, I won’t be able to drive anymore.

People who suffer from untreated sleep apnea are at a higher risk of getting in a car accident. Treatment reverses this increased risk. Once you’ve started treatment, you can continue driving. That said, you will have to disclose your sleep apnea diagnosis and how you’re treating it in order to be covered in the event of an accident.

5. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are noisy and bulky.

CPAP machines weigh between four and nine pounds. They are about the same size as a box of tissues, which makes them easy to transport. The ones that manufacturers have developed recently are increasingly quiet. When starting treatment, you and your spouse or partner might have to adjust to it, but this is no longer a real challenge to continuing treatment. It is also worth noting that noise can be caused by an improperly fitted breathing mask or a CPAP machine that is worn out and needs to be replaced (it is recommended that machines be replaced every five years).

6. Adjusting to CPAP therapy is difficult and takes a long time.

Most of patients adjust quickly, despite the discomfort they feel when they start treatment. Oftentimes, the increased energy they feel thanks to their treatment helps them get through the adjustment period and stick with it. If you find it difficult to adjust over a longer period, talk to your specialist to make sure your machine is working properly and that you have the right breathing mask for you.

7. I have sensitive skin. I can’t wear a breathing mask every day without a lot of discomfort and irritation.

 If you have delicate or easily irritated skin, or if your eyes are sensitive to air, wearing a breathing mask every day can be challenging. Comfort devices like the Facembrace can help you stick with it. The Facembrace is a soft, light layer designed specifically to protect the skin on your face against discomfort and make every morning a radiant one!

The right information leads to the best decisions, ones that allow you to take care of both your health and your well-being.

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