According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 12 million Americans have sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by cessations in a person’s breathing during sleep. But despite its prevalence, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding sleep apnea. Rohnert Park dentist Dr. Wayne Sutton from Sonoma Smiles has experience diagnosing and treating sleep apnea. In this blog post, he shares the truth on common sleep apnea myths.
Sleep apnea only affects older adults
While it is true that sleep apnea is more common among adults age 40 and older, the sleep disorder can affect people of all ages. In addition, individuals who are overweight and have a family history of sleep apnea have a heightened risk of developing the condition. Research has also found that men have twice the risk of developing sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea doesn’t have serious health effects
If left untreated, sleep apnea can do more than just affect your ability to get a good night’s rest. Research has linked sleep apnea to various health conditions including type 2 diabetes, obesity, liver problems and cancer. Evidence shows that people with sleep apnea have higher blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart failure.
Everyone who has sleep apnea, snores
Not everyone who has sleep apnea snores just like not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea but it is not the only one. Other symptoms to pay attention to include daytime sleepiness, poor memory and concentration, fatigue and irritability. Alternatively, some patients are not aware that they have the condition because they don’t exhibit any symptoms at all. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, you are encouraged to see a professional for a proper diagnosis.
Sleep apnea cannot be treated
This is false! There are several effective treatment options to relieve symptoms and help you get a good night’s rest. Depending on the severity and symptoms of your specific case, Dr. Sutton may recommend one of the following:
CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which delivers gentle pressure to keep the airway passages open for unobstructed breathing.
Oral appliance therapy that opens the lower jaw and adjusts the tongue so it won’t roll back and block the airway passages. Oral appliances are customized to fit your unique specifications and needs.
Surgery to widen breathing passages by removing or tightening excess tissue located in the throat.
Get a Good Night’s Rest with Sonoma Smiles
If you are interested in learning more about the treatment options Dr. Sutton offers for sleep apnea, please schedule a consultation by calling (707) 585-2555 today.
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(All photos of actual patients)