SLEEP APNOEA MYTHS EXPOSED!!
I WAS TOLD I WON’T BE ABLE TO DRIVE IF I HAVE SLEEP APNOEA
Not True! Once your treatment is proving to be successful your sleep clinician can fill in a form to be sent to the DVLA, who should give you permission to drive.
SLEEP APNOEA ONLY AFFECTS OBESE PEOPLE
Not True! Yes, of course obese people are affected, just like obesity can cause other problems, such as heart attacks and strokes, but bearing in mind the biggest cause of sleep apnoea is a narrow jaw, then obesity is only part of the picture. It is, however, true to say that obesity can cause sleep apnoea, but which came first - the chicken or the egg? Perhaps sleep apnoea caused the obesity through people needing to eat the wrong foods due to weakness caused by sleep deprivation and the need for more energy.
CHILDREN ARE NOT AFFECTED BY SLEEP APNOEA
Not True! Sleep apnoea is fairly common in children. However, the good news is that often with the removal of the tonsils and/or adenoids, the child will be relieved of the symptoms of sleep apnoea. On the downside, the child may develop sleep apnoea in adulthood. Sleep problems are not often suspected, but latest research shows they should be for problems such as ADHD, learning, behavioural + development problems, personality changes and even heart problems.
SLEEP APNOEA IS NOT HEREDITARY
Not True! Some sleep apnoea is caused (or made worse) through lifestyle, such as drinking too much alcohol, obesity, smoking, eating near to bedtime etc. However, as has been mentioned, bearing in mind that most sleep apnoea is caused through the narrow jaws, which is a congenital problem, then the obvious conclusion is that sleep apnoea is often an inherited ‘condition.’ For the record, I also have many clients from the same family, so I know this to be true.
IF I USE MY CPAP I WILL BE CURED
Sadly the answer is ‘Not True’ even though it’s very important to use your machine. Think of it like an asthma sufferer, who can control their condition with their inhalers. At present, the only known 100% cure for sleep apnoea is a tracheotomy, which most of us wouldn’t welcome.
I WAS TOLD I ONLY NEED TO USE MY CPAP AT BEDTIME
Not True! CPAP should be used for all sleeps, including any daytime naps. Any time a person with sleep apnoea goes to sleep, they are prone to apnoeas, which have the same negative effect on their heart and other organs, no matter what time of the day or night it is.
I MUST NOT DRINK ALCOHOL IF I HAVE SLEEP APNOEA
Many people will be pleased to know this is Not True! However, alcohol is best avoided within 3 hours of sleeping, but if you have drank any alcohol it is even more important to use your machine to keep your airways open. It is a well-known fact that even a person without sleep apnoea, will probably suffer from apnoeas and/or snoring after drinking alcohol.
I INTEND TO LOSE WEIGHT TO CURE MY SLEEP APNOEA
Unfortunately it is not as simple as that, although research carried out suggests that if just 10% of the body weight is lost, this can dramatically lower the amount of apnoea events. Even if the sleep apnoea is caused solely by excess weight, it is very difficult for the fat in the neck to disappear with weight-loss. Having said this, there are reported cases of some people with very mild sleep apnoea to be cured after losing weight.
A PRESCRIPTION IS NEEDED TO PURCHASE A CPAP MACHINE AND MASK
Partly True! Here in the UK, anyone can purchase a mask, but you must have a prescription to purchase a machine. The rules differ for other countries, ie in the USA you need a prescription for both a CPAP machine and a mask.
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