Sleep Apnea Frequently Asked Questions—Skokie, IL · Chicago, IL
Ask a Sleep Apnea Expert
Even though you’ll find plenty of great information about sleep apnea on this site, we’re sure you still have questions! Our team is always ready to provide any information you need so you can feel confident deciding to pursue treatment and know what to expect throughout the process. We’ve gone ahead and answered some of our most popular questions below, but if there is anything else you’d like to know, you can give us a call.
How common is sleep apnea?
Right now, it is estimated that over 20 million people in the US are suffering from sleep apnea, but this number may actually be low. That’s because as many as 80% of cases are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Plus, sleep apnea is closely connected to obesity, which has been steadily increasing over the last few decades. This is why we recommend getting a screening if there is the slightest indication of the condition, because it is so often missed.
Can children have sleep apnea?
Yes, about 1-2% of children in the U.S. are diagnosed with sleep apnea and other sleep-disordered breathing problems each year. Most of the time, this is due to their physiology, such as large tonsils or adenoids that are blocking the airway. Thankfully, corrective surgery is minor, and there are other viable treatments as well. One thing parents should know is that sleep apnea and chronic exhaustion can often cause a child to become hyperactive, meaning they may be misdiagnosed as having ADD/ADHD. This is why we recommend that every child currently being treated for these issues undergo a sleep apnea screening to rule out this possible cause.
Can sleep apnea be passed down through genetics?
Sleep apnea itself is not caused by genes, so it is not hereditary, but a parent can pass characteristics to their children that may make them more likely to develop the disorder. This can include things like an increased risk of obesity, a naturally narrow airway, or a larger than average tongue or neck circumference. Thankfully, all of these conditions can be mitigated at an early age to help someone avoid a sleep disorder.
Is sleep apnea fatal?
Sleep apnea is not a fatal disorder, but rather it can lead to conditions that are often fatal. It is known to cause lasting high blood pressure in particular, which can drastically increase the chances of a heart attack or stroke. In many cases, sleep apnea-related deaths stem from cardiovascular issues. Another common cause of mortality is motor vehicle accidents due to the driver dozing off behind the wheel. But, by treating sleep apnea, we can lower a patient’s long-term risk of these kinds of complications, improving their quality of life while lengthening it at the same time!