6 Surprising Facts about Sleep Apnea

March 25, 2023
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Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the most common sleep disorders. It is also one of the most dangerous. Left untreated, it has the potential to increase the risk of heart problems, motor vehicle accidents, and other serious issues. To protect yourself, you should be well-informed about this condition. Here are six surprising facts about sleep apnea that can motivate you to protect yourself against it:

Sleep Apnea Is Woefully Underdiagnosed

Estimates state that anywhere from 18 to 22 million adults in the U.S. have sleep apnea. However, those figures may be much lower than the actual number. Some experts believe that up to 90% of OSA cases remain undiagnosed because people do not recognize its signs or dismiss their sleep problems as nothing more than a nuisance.

Sleep Apnea Is Not Limited to Obese Individuals

Some people believe that OSA only afflicts obese individuals. It is true that people in larger bodies are more prone to disordered breathing. However, the reality is that sleep apnea can affect anyone, including athletes and people who have always been thin.

Sleep Apnea Can Cause Hundreds of Sleep Disruptions Each Night

People with severe OSA may stop breathing hundreds of times each night. Therefore, even though they may spend eight hours in bed, they get very little restful sleep. As a result, they are constantly exhausted and are not able to enjoy a high quality of life.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea Are Related

Snoring is often dismissed as an annoyance. In reality, though, it often indicates the presence of obstructive sleep apnea. The tissues that vibrate and cause snoring noises are the same ones that can block the free flow of air during sleep. (Of course, it is important to note that not everyone with sleep apnea snores, and not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.)

The Risk Increases with Age

People of any age can suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. However, it is most common among older individuals. Men are at a greater risk than women, but both genders have high rates of OSA as they age.

CPAP Therapy Is Not Always Necessary

It is commonly believed that CPAP therapy is the only way to address sleep apnea. That is far from the truth. Countless people have benefited from oral sleep appliance therapy, which uses a small mouthguard-like device from a dentist to facilitate better breathing. Some individuals with very mild OSA have even found that they can almost eliminate their symptoms through lifestyle changes, such as changing their sleeping position or improving their exercise habits.

Has this blog post taught you anything new about sleep apnea? Share what you learned so you and your loved ones can stay on-guard against this dangerous disorder.

Meet the Practice

Dr. Kenneth Mogell specializes in providing oral appliance therapy for obstructive sleep apnea. If you suspect you have OSA or simply want to know more about it, our team would be pleased to serve you. Contact any of our locations or call our Melbourne office at 844-686-0696.