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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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Comment by Terry Vella on April 29, 2012 at 9:33
Richard, which mask are you using? I used to get marks but there are a number of things you can do to get rid of them.
Comment by Kath Hope on April 29, 2012 at 1:12

That it why I wear the FitLife mask Richard - no face marks :)  There is a possibility of dying in your sleep so I, personally, would never take the chance.  However, I am not trying to scaremonger you, and most of the time our bodies will save us, but I would have it on my conscience if I didn't state the facts!  I especially believe it is even more important to safeguard yourself with the CPAP due to you being on medication that makes it worse.  Since December I know of 3 people who did die in their sleep without the masks, so it's not worth taking the chance.

Comment by richard hardy on April 29, 2012 at 1:06

can you die in your sleep if you dont wear the mask?

Comment by richard hardy on April 29, 2012 at 1:05

hi thanks for your message.i will check out your blog soon.i have been on valum for 10years now and can not come off them,also powerfull painkillers for kidney stones tamadol.i hate the face marks that are left by wearing the mask. it can take hours for them to go away.also i always get headaches after using the cprap

Comment by Kath Hope on April 29, 2012 at 0:24

I understand you have to take them at the moment Richard, and please don't stop without being under supervision of your GP.  However, they do make sleep apnoea worse.  However, I've just read your profile, and thankfully your are on CPAP which will help safeguard you until you are in a position to be free of the medications you are on.  Tomorrow (or definitely within the next few days) I'm going to be blogging about depression/anxiety and the link with sleep apnoea, so if you check out my blog at www.sleepapnoeablog.com and at the bottom right of the blog you'll see where you can 'Sign Up For New Blog Posts' (not the newsletter sign up part) and you'll be alerted when I put the new post on the blog.  In answer to your other question. YES, undiagnosed sleep apnoea can cause depression, which I'll be writing about in the blog.  Meanwhile, the important thing you must do is make sure you use your CPAP during ALL sleeps, including daytime naps.  Hang in there Richard, as you've come to a good place for help, and there are lots of other helpful friendly people on here to help if you want to start a new post discussion on here.

Comment by richard hardy on April 29, 2012 at 0:00

my snoreing was so loud my neighbours a few doors away can hear it,i was even asked by a hotel to leave as i was keeping every one awale,lolcan sleep apeoa cause depression?

Comment by richard hardy on April 28, 2012 at 23:58

i have to take them because of panic attacks ect and prozac for depression.i put weight on about the same time igot sleep apeao. and taking valum. so i am not sure which caused it?

Comment by Kath Hope on April 28, 2012 at 23:41

Definitely it will make apnoeas worse.

Comment by richard hardy on April 28, 2012 at 23:25

can taking valium cause sleep apeao?

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