There are some misconceptions where sleep apnea is concerned so how do you know what is fact and what is myth? Sometimes it is hard to tell.
You snore so you have sleep apnea. This is a myth, just because you snore does not mean you have sleep apnea. Snoring that is accompanied by gasping or choking sounds is a sign that you could have sleep apnea and you should talk to your doctor about testing you for it. You need to understand that sleep apnea can cause you serious complications including not waking up at all if you have severe sleep apnea.
Only overweight people get sleep apnea. This is a myth. While being overweight puts stress on your airways and makes it far more likely that you will have sleep apnea even thin people can have sleep apnea.
Only men get sleep apnea. Another myth. While men are diagnosed more often, women can have sleep apnea.
Only old people get sleep apnea. This myth is another misconception, age does not matter, and both young and old get sleep apnea.
Not all CPAP machines or masks are the same. This is a fact. There are many different models of CPAP machines. Some have humidifiers some do not. Some have data collection cards some do not. Some are bigger than others. Masks vary as well from cannulas to full face masks. New patients need to understand the many different models and masks is something they need to investigate with their respiratory therapist or medical equipment supplier to get the best fit that is the most comfortable so that they continue to use the CPAP.
I do not need a humidifier because of the climate where I live. This is a partial myth. Some people due to the climate they live in do fine without a humidifier but if you experience a lot of nasal mucus, stuffy or runny nose, dryness in the nasal passages or mouth, and possible nose bleeds you need a humidifier. Often a humidifier will rectify the dry nasal passages and mouth, runny or stuffy nose, and bleeds.
CPAP machines cause sinus infections. This is a myth with some partial truth to it. The truth is that if you have a sinus infection or bacterial sickness that involves sneezing and coughing you can continue to keep getting sinus infections from your CPAP if you do not clean the mask, silicone cushion, tubing, and the humidifier tank with a mild non-scented antibacterial soap followed by a thorough rinsing. Allow time for parts to dry before placing back on the CPAP machine.
I only need to use my CPAP at night when I sleep all night. This is a myth anytime you sleep even if just for a couple hours during the afternoon you need to use your CPAP to keep your air ways open. Sleep apnea doesn’t take a break from you and you shouldn’t take a break from your CPAP.