Treatment of Sleep Apnea
Only the Old Get Sleep Apnea
Myth. Doctors estimate that more than 12 million Americans have OSA.
Although it's more common after age 40, the disorder can affect people of all
ages. You're more likely to develop OSA if you are overweight, male, African-
American, or Latino. The condition also tends to run in families.
Alcohol Will Help You Sleep
Myth. A nightcap may make you drowsy, but it does not promote good
quality sleep. Alcohol relaxes the muscles in the back of the throat. This
makes it easier for the airway to become blocked in people with OSA.
Sleeping pills have the same effect.
Sleep Apnea Is Rare in Kids
Myth. OSA is actually common in children,
affecting as many as one in 10. In most cases, the
symptoms are mild, and the child eventually
outgrows the condition. But some children may
develop behavioral issues or serious medical
problems as a result of OSA.
Losing Weight Can Help
Fact. You may be able to improve OSA by making some changes in
your life. If you're overweight, talk to your doctor about starting a weight
loss program. Shedding even a small percentage of your body weight can
improve your symptoms. If you smoke, ask your doctor about products that
can help you quit.
Lying On Your Side Can Help
If you sleep on your back, gravity can pull tissues in your throat
down, where they're more likely to block your
airway. Sleeping on your side instead may help
open the throat. There are special pillows to help
keep you on your side. Some people even use
shirts with tennis balls sewn to the back.
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