Sleep Apnea Myths

Sleep apnea is a widely misunderstood sleep disorder, and many myths and misconceptions persist. These myths can hinder proper diagnosis and treatment. Let's delve into these myths in more detail: 

Myth 1: It is Just a Case of Loud Snoring


Reality: Snoring is indeed a common symptom of sleep apnea, but it's not the sole defining characteristic. Sleep apnea involves repeated interruptions in breathing during sleep, known as apnea episodes. These episodes can result in decreased oxygen levels, leading to serious health consequences. If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk of heart problems, hypertension, daytime fatigue, loss of concentration, and irritability. 

Myth 2: It is a Condition of Overweight People


Reality: While obesity is a significant risk factor for sleep apnea, the condition can affect people of all body types, ages, and genders. Sleep apnea is not exclusive to the overweight population. In fact, it can even affect children. Approximately 3% of children suffer from sleep apnea, and it is sometimes misdiagnosed as conditions like ADHD. 

Myth 3: Sleeping in a Lab is the Only Way to Be Diagnosed


Reality: While in-lab sleep studies are one method of diagnosing sleep apnea, portable home tests, such as Home Sleep Testing (HST), are increasingly available and effective. These home tests are less intrusive and can provide valuable diagnostic information. People who suspect they have sleep apnea should not be discouraged by the misconception that a lab study is the only option. 

Myth 4: No Snoring Means No Sleep Apnea


Reality: While snoring is a common indicator of sleep apnea, it is not a mandatory symptom. Some individuals with sleep apnea do not snore loudly. Instead, they may exhibit other symptoms, such as waking up with a sore or dry throat, experiencing high blood pressure, morning headaches, or experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness. These symptoms, along with factors like pauses in breathing during sleep, should be considered when evaluating the possibility of sleep apnea. 

Myth 5: Sleep Apnea is Not a Serious Condition


Reality: Sleep apnea is a condition that deserves attention. It can cause a range of health issues including cardiac and psychological conditions, impacting your overall well-being. If left untreated, sleep apnea can have some serious consequences. Therefore, it's crucial to get a timely diagnosis to find the right treatment. 

Educating the public about the realities of sleep apnea, debunking these myths, and promoting awareness is essential for early diagnosis and effective management of this common sleep disorder. If someone suspects they have sleep apnea or exhibits related symptoms, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis.

Know more about Treatment of Sleep Apnea, and Sleep Apnea Tests


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Sleep Revitalizes your Mind, Body, & Heart

The body goes under many transformations, while it is in the state of rest during sleep. There are many essential functions that take place in the body such as tissue repair, memory and energy restoration, release of essential hormones, muscle relaxation, and others. While you are asleep, the brain releases indispensable hormones that promote tissue growth. This process helps your body rejuvenate from the daily hustle bustle. Moreover, tissue growth aids in the recovery from wounds or cuts. Sunita Kumar, Co-Director, Centre for Sleep Disorders, Loyola University Medical Centre, aptly remarks that during sleep the body produces more white blood cells, to fight countless bacteria and viruses1. The heart rate also registers a dip during sleep, which according to Ms. Kumar, strengthens the heart as it is at rest with lowered activity. Moreover, a good night’s sleep also reduces the chances of getting afflicted with heart diseases.

Good Sleep = Sharp Memory

Sleep is a time, when becomes sharp and strong. Sleep quantity and quality play a fundamental role in determining what one remembers and what one doesnt. Therefore, development of long-term memory (LTM) from short-term memory (STM) happens during sleep.  Scientific researches state that the brain follows a different mechanism for storing memories through the hippocampus and neo-cortex areas. Hippocampus helps you to remember your life experiences (childhood memories), while the neo-cortex is responsible for remembering the concepts you learn (name of a color). Communications and sync between the two, helps in learning new data and updating old ones.

Sleep Steers Hormonal Hunger

Sleep not only affects your energy levels and mental functions, but also regulates your body weight. Improper sleep is related to the increasing cases of obesity, worldwide2. Many hormones which regulate the feeling of hunger (ghrelin) and signal the feeling of being full (leptin), are all influenced by the quality of your sleep.  Leptin: This is also known as satiety hormone, which is produced by the fat cells of the body. It prevents overeating by sending signals to the brain that the body does not require more food, as there is enough to fuel the body.  Ghrelin: This hunger hormone is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, which signifies the body that there is need for food. This hormone rises in the body, when you feel hungry and decreases when you have consumed some food.  Studies show that people who have disrupted patterns of sleep - have larger appetite, because of higher ghrelin secretion and lowered secretion of leptin. This imbalance in the secretion of these hormones is a result of improper sleep patterns3.