Sleep Apnea Myths and Misconceptions

Like many chronic health conditions, sleep apnea comes with its own set of misconceptions that we have to deal with and educate people on. There is a lot of ignorance with most chronic conditions, but sleep apnea is one all of its own.

So many people have heard of it, but most don’t know what it is or what causes it and have their own ideas based on either family members or what they have heard from others. Usually, these people don’t get their info from a reliable source.

Here are a few misconceptions I have heard and how to educate people on them.

Myth: It is a condition for the overweight

Of course, we can’t breathe at night. We have so much weight we are like a beached whale and crushing ourselves on our own weight. Yes, that is an over-exaggeration, but it’s kind of how people think.

The first thing I do is tell them it>has nothing to do with weight crushing us to where we can’t or have trouble breathing. Yes, weight can cause or make it worse, but it’s certainly not the only thing. I believe it is more of a genetic condition, and . If it was weight-based, everyone who was overweight would have it, which isn’t true.

Don’t let people who say this kind of stuff get you down. Educate them. If you can’t, move on. It’s not worth your time or effort.

Myth: You don’t have to breath at night if you have a CPAP

This is another one I have heard. My family calls mine my breathing machine, which I am guilty of too. But for those who don’t know, which my family does, it is not breathing for me.

I promise people I have to breathe at night. There is a big difference between a ventilator and a CPAP machine. It’s kind of a funny one because people really do think this, and then they feel kind of silly when you explain it. But on a side note, think about how much we could learn about other people's conditions we don’t live with and how much learning we could get from others. It really does help you think that we all need to be more open-minded.

Myth: Sleep apnea is just a man’s condition

Many people associate sleep apnea with snoring, which it’s not, but they do and think of a man snoring. People just don’t associate this with a woman. I guess they don’t see it as feminine, so they don’t think of a woman first, not that it's manly either, but hopefully, you know what I’m saying.

This can cause many women to delay or not get treatment thinking it is just a man’s condition. There are very few gender-specific conditions, and most of them have to do with body parts the other doesn’t have. If you know a woman who could have sleep apnea, let them know so they can get evaluated. There are a lot of misconceptions; most don’t hurt anyone, but this one could harm a loved one if they don’t get it checked out.

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