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sleep apnea

6 Sleep Apnea Facts

If you've recently undergone a home sleep test or suspect that you or someone you know might be suffering from sleep apnea, you or a loved one might require a CPAP machine in the near future. However, there are quite a few misconceptions about the symptoms and potential complications of this affliction. Here are six facts about this sleep disorder that might surprise you:
  1. You may not know you have it
    Studies have shown that 2-4% of all Americans have an undiagnosed case of sleep apnea -- but because of the nature of this disorder, the numbers could actually be higher. You may have no idea you exhibit the symptoms -- simply because you're asleep when the obvious ones occur! Some experts have said that as many as 80% of those who suffer from this disorder go undiagnosed. That's why it's important to see a sleep expert and take a home sleep test for sleep apnea to get a definitive answer or diagnosis.
  2. You may think your symptoms are caused by something else
    Because the symptoms of this disorder are most obvious while you're asleep, the evidence during waking hours is much less evident. People tend to exhibit extreme fatigue, memory problems, or depression -- all of which could be potentially linked to other maladies. Many sufferers are misdiagnosed, which can be dangerous for your health; not only could you be taking incorrect medications, but you'll also be ignoring the cause of significant health risks. Although sleep apnea causes are not always concrete, a diagnosis is -- and once you're diagnosed, you can seek treatment.
  3. Healthy habits can lower your risk
    Although there isn't always a direct link, the big risk factors for this disorder include being overweight, consuming alcohol, and smoking cigarettes. Cutting out these three risk factors and replacing them with regular exercise and a balanced diet can improve your breathing and will increase your overall quality of life.
  4. It affects women, too
    There's a myth that this disease affects mostly overweight men. While it's true that men may be twice as likely to exhibit symptoms, women can certainly suffer from apnea as well, especially post-menopause. Don't discount the idea that you might have this disorder just because you don't believe your gender can be impacted.
  5. CPAP machines are effective -- but only if you use them
    CPAP machines are fantastic for reducing the risks of this disease. However, studies have shown that people either don't use them consistently, or stop using them altogether. Over half of sleep apnea patients who were prescribed a CPAP machine stopped using it in one to three weeks. Although they can take some getting used to, it's important that you continue using the machine if you are diagnosed. If you're having trouble with your CPAP mask or machine, you can always see your doctor or a specialist to find out what other types are available to you and whether they might be a better fit.
  6. The consequences can be serious
    Left untreated, this condition can lead to serious -- and even deadly -- problems. It increases your risk of heart disease and has been linked to high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes. By choosing not to find out the truth about your sleeping habits, you're chancing much more than a lack of quality shut-eye -- you're risking your life.
If you've been recently diagnosed with this sleep condition, contact us today to find out about the types of CPAP supplies we offer and how they can help improve your quality of life.