13 Myths and Facts About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is one of the commonest disorders that cause one or more pauses in a person’s breathing or shallowness of breath when asleep. The extent of these pauses can be seconds or minutes and can recur up to 30 times every hour. Normal breathing resumes after every pause with a choking sound or snort.

Though many people suffer from the condition, few want to admit they have it. It is, perhaps, because of this fear that so many myths have been told and resulted to great misconception about the condition. The following are 13 most commonly told myths and facts that you need to know about sleep Apnea.

Myth 1: Sleep apnea is just a nuisance and people with it do not get medical consequences

  • Fact: Sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that advances over time.

 It has both short-term and long-term implications for the respiratory system, the brain, and cardiac systems. Many people who suffer the condition at a great risk of high blood pressure, and heart attack. It is a major cause of fatigue related road accidents.

Myth 2: People who have had tonsillectomy cannot develop sleep apnea

  • Fact: Tonsillectomy is not a treatment for sleep apnea.

Even if you have undergone the operation, sleep apnea is caused by soft muscles of the throat and tongue that relax when you are asleep and close the airways. While to some people this can reduce the occurrence, people who have undergone the procedure are equally at risk.

Myth 3: Only obese and middle aged males are at risk of developing sleep apnea.

  • Fact: Not, all people.

While people who are obese are at greater risk of suffering from sleep apnea, no one is free from the condition. The condition affects men, women, and children at all ages. The surest way to tell that you are free from sleep apnea is through sleep test.

Myth 4: Diagnosing sleep apnea is as simple as measuring the level of oxygen in the blood.

  • Fact: Not.

While it is true that assessment of oxygen in the blood is part of the method used to diagnose sleep apnea, it cannot be used on its own. You will require having the brain activity assessed, breathing rate evaluated and limbs & other muscles movement checked.

Myth 5: Standard CPAP Sleep Apnea Machines are better than automated CPAP machines.

  • Fact: This is a falsehood.

Automated CPAP machines can be operated as fixed models or fixed machines. However, the fixed CPAP machines can only run on just one mode. Using an automated CPAP is better because they adapt to changes in breathing pressure. Therefore, you do not need to keep rushing to a physician for pressure adjustment after losing or gaining weight.

Myth 6: Visiting a sleep lab is the only method of telling that a person is suffering from sleep apnea.

  • Fact: You can also use a home sleep apnea test.

Sleep labs are the most recommended method of testing for sleep apnea. Medical professionals can tell the extent and recommend the right corrective measure. However, you can also use a home sleep apnea test can also be used to identify the problem.

Myth 7: You cannot be able to sleep in a sleep lab. If you do, you have a higher risk of suffering sleep apnea.

  • Fact: Not, you totally can sleep in a sleep lab.

Though this is a common fear for many people, you will find it easy to sleep in a sleep lab. Besides, the sleep lab does not determine whether you suffer from the problem or not. If you have the problem, it will be diagnosed and identified. However, if you do not have it, there is no relation between the lab and sleep apnea occurrence or severity.

Myth 8: It is difficult to side sleep when wearing a CPAP machine.

  • Fact: Not quite true.

Though many find it a little disturbing at the beginning, they easily get used to them and enjoy deeper sleep every day. With technological advancement, newer CPAP models are lighter and quiet so that you can get the lovely sleep you anticipate. Besides, they allow enough air into the body and keep all systems running normally so that sleep is sound and more enthralling.

Myth 9: All CPAP prescribed for people who suffer from sleep apnea are the same.

  • Fact: Wrong, it depends on the level you suffer.

CPAP is designed differently to fit individuals depending on the level of sleep apnea. The medical expert can recommend fixed CPAP (commonly referred as variable pressure), pressure relief technology, or humidification. It is upon the users to pick the best CPAP machine that works best for them.

Myth 10: CPAP machine users die immediately in case of power failure when they are asleep.

  • Fact: This is an incorrect myth.

CPAP are designed and tested carefully to ensure they allow the user breath normally in case they stop working. In fact, the machines detect power failure immediately, and you will not even know until you wake up.

Myth 11: Cutting weight alone will is the ultimate treatment for apnea.

  • Fact: This is an incorrect myth.

While cutting weight will no doubt work towards addressing the problem, it is not the sole causative reason for sleep apnea. Some people stop using CPAP machine after losing weight after symptoms of sleep apnea disappear. However, the symptoms reappear after some time. Once you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, the best thing is to keep using it irrespective of your weight changes.

Myth 12: Taking alcohol is a good solution to sleep apnea and sleeplessness.

  • Fact: This is an incorrect myth.

While alcohol will help you fall asleep faster, it is neither a solution for sleep apnea nor sleeplessness. Even after falling asleep fast, you will keep waking up many times during the night after taking alcohol. Besides, alcohol has been found to worsen sleep apnea and raise the risk for people without the problem.

Myth 13: Elderly people should not use CPAP therapy because it can result in death.

  • Fact: This is an incorrect myth.

There is no age that CPAP therapy cannot be used. At an older age, you might even require the machine more compared to others because it recommended you sleep for more hours. You only need to get the right size for extra comfort.

  • Lana
  • April 6, 2016

I'm Lana, founder of Smart Health Kick. This is my blog was founded in November 2015 and Smart Health Kick dedicated to natural beauty, organic lifestyle, health, fitness, nutrition. I’ve furthered my knowledge so much on all areas of my blog, and hope that you enjoy reading the content just as much as I enjoy creating it!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 3 comments
Faylinn - August 23, 2016

I have sleep apnea and my dad keeps telling me that losing weight will make it go away. I don’t use a CPAP machine, though, and I’ve only seen people who were really big use one of those. How severe should sleep apnea be before someone starts to use one of those machines?

Katherine Dilworth - September 19, 2016

Thanks for this amazing post! Lots of myths and misconception about Sleep Apnea has been cleared..

Douglas Hinojosa - November 19, 2017

This myth-buster article is a real saver for anybody
suffering from apnea or having someone nearby suffer from apnea. I will
definitely look up home sleep apnea test that has been mentioned in the
article. I would very much like to see more such myth-busting articles from
Smart Health Kick.


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