Can Sleep Apnea Cause Death?

The question "can sleep apnea cause death?" is an important one to ask, but not meant to create panic.

Untreated this condition will wreek havoc on one's health and in extreme instances death. Death however is often an indirect consequence. Sleep apnea contributes to a a number of health complications. The deteriorating health is due to a lack of quality sleep. With Obstructive Sleep Apnea the throat tissues either collapse or narrow. Blood-oxygen levels drop and the body's automatic response is a rush of emergency signals to wake up in order to resume breathing.

This can happen 30 times or hundred times or more a night. However the person does not typically fully awake and often unaware of their own condition. Over time the body becomes sleep deprived as it does not have adequate amounts of deep sleep due to the continuous disturbances in breathing.

Experiencing sleep apnea for four to five years raises the risk of having a heart attack or dying by 30% says Neomi Shah, MD, and colleagues from Yale University. Studying over 1,000 patients, the more severe the apnea, the higher the risk of heart attack or death.

Heart Disease, Stroke, High Blood Pressure

Sleep apnea increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and daytime tiredness.

Those who suffer from sleep apnea are at a much higher risk of a motor vehicle accident. As statistics and data varies, the conclusion is clear. If you or someone you know suffers from this condition, ask them about their "near misses" while driving. Drowsiness and driving are a dangerous combination. This may not strike all as a serious issue. However a study done by Alan Mulgrew, MD, and colleagues at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver with over 1,500 participants revealed that sleep apnea patients were almost five times more likely to have a serious car crash over those free of the condition. This is true for all sleep apnea suffers from mild to severe.

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