Common Misconceptions About Obstructive Sleep Apnea
As a dentist in Bergen County who specializes in sleep apnea, Dr. Kenneth Hilsen has heard all types of misconceptions from misinformed patients. The most common myth he hears time and time again, however, is the idea that sleep apnea is not that big of a deal.
The reality is that sleep apnea is a very big deal, and it involves much more than just snoring loudly at night. At Cliffs Dental in Bergen County, Dr. Hilsen works with many sleep apnea patients whose daytime functioning is being impaired by their nighttime sleeping issues. Many of these people go to sleep every night and wake up in the morning thinking that they have had a full night’s sleep. In reality, however, science has shown that sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that requires immediate treatment and constant management.
If severe sleep apnea is left untreated, it can result in death. According to Dr. Hilsen, four out of every 10 people with severe sleep apnea – which is a very different thing from mild sleep apnea – will die of the condition within six to seven years if left untreated. Research has continued to show that severe sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that should not be ignored.
The point, according to Dr. Hilsen, is that people need to be vigilant about getting their loved ones help. When it comes to sleep apnea, most people do not realize they have a problem until their spouses begins complaining about nighttime snoring and other noises. If a person goes from snoring heavily to gasping and holding his breath during the night, then that is not normal. Loud snoring is not necessarily an indicator of sleep apnea, but a loss of breath and heavy gasping are certainly signs that a person should get examined.
If a person stops breathing in the middle of his snoring and begins loudly gasping for air or holding his breath, then Dr. Hilsen says that is a common type of sleep apnea. Dr. Hilsen says that out of every four middle-aged men has sleep apnea – many of whom have no clue that they suffer from this condition. Among middle-aged women, the statistic is a little less shocking. Dr. Hilsen says that recent research has shown that one in 11 women suffers from sleep apnea, which is not quite as bad as the figures regarding male sufferers.
Because of the growing body of research on the matter, Dr. Hilsen says, the field of sleep medicine is exploding right now. Increasingly, people are realizing that their daytime tiredness should not be ignored – especially if they are already getting eight or more hours of rest each night. Even Medicare has jumped on board. According to Dr. Hilsen, Medicare recently approved payments for oral appliances related to sleep apnea, which is a major benefit to patients.
For more information on sleep apnea, Dr. Hilsen recommends contacting his office for a consultation.
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.