Apnea Myths Explained
We debunk some of the most common myths about Obstructive Sleep Apnea below.
MYTH: If you’re not overweight, you can’t have sleep apnea.
The facts: Although obesity is a risk factor for sleep apnea, patients who are at a normal BMI or only slightly overweight can have it, too. Anatomy – such as a large neck and/or tonsils, a small jaw, a large overbite, or a recessed chin – can play a role, too.
MYTH: Everyone who has sleep apnea snores.
The facts: When you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), your breathing is interrupted many times during sleep, which can result in both snoring at night and daytime exhaustion. Keep in mind – you and/or your bed partner may snore, but if you feel rested the next day, you may just have “simple snoring” rather than sleep apnea.
On the other hand, up to 20% of patients with sleep apnea don’t snore, but still suffer from choking, gasping, labored breathing during sleep, and/or a headache and dry throat upon waking. Ultimately, it’s always worth discussing potential symptoms with your sleep physician to get proper diagnosis and treatment.
MYTH: Only men get sleep apnea.
The facts: Women are also susceptible to sleep apnea, and tend to be under-diagnosed. Women may present symptoms differently – such as insomnia, mood disturbances, morning headaches, sleepiness/lack of energy – and their snoring may also go unnoticed by their bed partners, as it may be quieter than their partners’ snoring. Those who have undergone menopause are even more at risk for sleep apnea.
Bottom Line: Always consult with your doctor about your potential symptoms before ruling out Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Are you showing signs of depression? Are you exhausted during the day? Do you fall asleep easily, and/or have trouble concentrating during the day? Are you irritable with loved ones? These are all potential symptoms of sleep apnea, and the quicker you’re diagnosed, the quicker you’ll be on your way to a better night’s rest with therapy such as use of SomnoMed oral devices.