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Can You Die In Your Sleep From Sleep Apnea

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What Can Happen If Sleep Apnea Goes Untreated

Can You Die From Sleep Apnea?

According to a recent study, leaving sleep apnea untreated even just for a few days can lead to a series of health consequences such as:

  • An increase in blood sugar levels, high blood pressure and stress hormones
  • A higher chance of having a heart attack
  • A two to three times higher chance of having a stroke
  • Cardiovascular disease

Moreover, the more severe a persons sleep apnea is, the higher the risk of an attack or death. According to the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort, 42% of deaths in people who suffered severe sleep apnea were caused by heart disease. In clinical terms, severe connotes having an apnea-hypopnea index score of 20 or more respiratory events per hour. Furthermore, those with untreated severe sleep apnea were 5 times more likely to experience a cardiac-related death.

From a functioning perspective, people with untreated sleep apnea may experience:

  • Increased daytime fatigue
  • Headaches
  • An overall lower quality of life

Another issue worth addressing is a significantly increased risk of car accidents due to people falling asleep at the wheel. According to a recent study, those with sleep apnea were 2.5 times more likely to be the cause of a motor vehicle accident when compared to a control group of drivers within the general population.

For more information, find out what happens if you skip CPAP therapy here.

What The Research Shows

Early identification and treatment of sleep apnea are key, he says. Several studies now link severe obstructive sleep apnea to higher mortality even after accounting for risk factors such as obesity.

In a five-year study of nearly 11,000 people, those with obstructive sleep apnea had a higher risk of sudden cardiac death. At greatest risk were those aged 60 and older with moderate to severe apnea .

When their oxygen saturation levels dipped below 78% preventing air from flowing into the lungs their risk increased by 80%.

In addition, our group has shown that people with severe obstructive sleep apnea have a two-to-fourfold greater risk of abnormal heart rhythms than people without sleep apnea, he says.

Other researchers have found that patients with obstructive sleep apnea are more than 2.5 times as likely to experience sudden cardiac death between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. as those without obstructive apnea.

Carrie Fisher And Other Celebrity Deaths Caused By Sleep Apnea

Posted on Thursday, March 10th, 2022 at 4:59 pm

In late December 2016, after completing production for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, beloved actress Carrie Fisher suffered a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles and later died.

The Los Angeles County Coroner later determined Carrie Fishers official cause of death to be sleep apnea and other factors. Sleep apnea is a potentially severe sleep disorder that occurs when a person stops breathing while sleeping, sometimes for just a few seconds and sometimes for minutes. It can cause snoring, daytime fatigue, nightmares, insomnia, headaches, mood swings, irritability, and other symptoms.

Tragically, as in the case of Carrie Fisher, sleep apnea can also be deadly. Other celebrities that died due to sleep apnea-related complications include famous Indian singer Bappi Lahiri, who suffered from obstructive sleep apnea , and Amanda Peterson, who starred in the 1987 romantic comedy Cant Buy Me Love. Her father stated that she had sleep apnea and that her condition may have contributed to her death.

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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Can a Child Die from Sleep Apnea?

Children experience similar sleeping problems in adults, including sleep apnea, insomnia, and narcolepsy, but their clinical presentation of the condition may differ.

Regarding sleep disorders in infants, many parents wonder if SIDS is caused by sleep apnea. A clinical study showed that obstructive apnea may appear in infants with a family history of ALTE , sleep apnea and SIDS.

Although sleep apnea can be a leading cause for SIDS, even for no apparent reason healthy babies can stop breathing in sleep.

SIDS is not something that can be detected and prevented ahead of time. It can strike any infant, anywhere, without warning.

Scientists couldn’t discover what is the exact cause of sudden death in infants. However, they found several risk factors for SIDS, including:

  • sleeping in the prone position,
  • maternal smoking during pregnancy,
  • low birth weight.

How Do Doctors Diagnose Sleep Apnea

The Hidden Danger of Sleep Apnea

One of the most common ways to diagnose sleep apnea is by participating in a sleep study.

A doctor can recommend that you have a polysomnography, also called a sleep study, which will be taken while you sleep at home or in a sleep lab so a doctor can monitor your sleeping patterns.

This can help your doctor determine if you have any breathing problems and how severe they are.

Other tests can include a split-night study which is usually done if you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and are having trouble tolerating the CPAP machine or an oximeter test which can measure blood oxygen levels.

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How Can Sleep Apnea Be Dangerous

Not breathing during the night for any period of time will cause a lack of oxygen in the blood, meaning your heart will have to work harder and faster to pump blood around the body.

Waking from sleep as the sufferer starts to breathe again also causes long term high blood pressure. When we sleep our blood pressure lowers. In the long run, this is good for us.

However, when we wake, we experience an increase in blood pressure. Constantly waking during the night does not allow the body to experience a constant lowered blood pressure meaning again, the body must work harder.

This overtime is what becomes dangerous and detrimental to health.

The more times in the night the sufferer stops and starts breathing, the higher the risks.

As well as the physical results of sleep apnea, here are mental and emotional factors that are also detrimental to overall health during the long run.

Depression is extremely common in long term sufferers of Sleep Apnea. Depression can lead to suicide.

Extreme fatigue as a result of not sleeping properly each night can also cause death as a result of becoming clumsy. Falling asleep at the wheel is more common than we may realise. And Sleep Apnea can be a cause of this.

How Does Sleep Apnea Kill You

According to health experts, sleep apnea itself isnt fatal, but rather the complications resulting from it can cause death, particularly cardiovascular-related problems.

A study published in 2013 followed nearly 11,000 people. They found that those with obstructive sleep apnea had higher risk of sudden cardiac-related death.

Furthermore, experts warn that not treating a sleep apnea disorder could also prove deadly. Research points to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and premature death when sleep apnea is left untreated.

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Sudden Death Is Just One Medical Condition Linked With Sleep Apnea

Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and glaucoma have been linked with sleep apnoea. Also, the fatigue you feel leads to accidents at work and in the car. You can pose a threat to yourself and others when you drive while fatigued.

Sleep apnoea has links to systemic inflammation, the cause of chronic diseases, experts say.

When there are pauses in breathing, the oxygen levels in your blood drops, which triggers your brain to increase your heart rate and blood pressure. This is the fight or flight stress response as your body struggles to wake up, so you can start breathing again.

In addition, there will be chronic cycles of accelerated heart rate and increased blood pressure due to inflammation throughout your body.

This chronic inflammation may contribute to plaque buildup in the arteries , which puts a strain on the cardiovascular system and increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Heart disease includes atrial fibrillation, heart attack, and heart failure.

Chronic inflammation can also cause type 2 diabetes as it damages the pancreas. The risk of developing pre-diabetes, aka, metabolic syndrome is also increased with OSA.

All of this increases the chance of early death.

Sleep apnoea also damages other organs, leading to:

  • Glaucoma
  • Pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, gestational high blood pressure, and preeclampsia
  • Asthma

All this can take several months, waiting for various appointments.

Coronary Artery Disease And Heart Attack

Why Do Some People Die in Their Sleep?

The risk of cardiovascular disease increases due to several mechanisms. Sleep apnea can lead to activation of the sympathetic nervous system. This is responsible for the “fight-or-flight” response. Imagine the stress on your body that occurs when a lion is chasing you, this is the sympathetic nervous system at work. Apnea events may lead to bursts of cortisol, the stress hormone, repeatedly during sleep. In addition, sleep apnea leads to problems with the lining of blood vessels, inflammation, and problems with metabolic regulation and diabetes. All of these can cause problems with blood vessels and this coronary artery disease may lead to major problems like a heart attack.

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The Good News: Cpap Treatment Is Effective And Better Than Ever

While the risks of untreated sleep apnea are serious, CPAP treatment is clinically proven to reduce these risks.78 Whats more: CPAP masks and machines now have more features for added comfort and ease of use compared to some of the older models shown in Staffords article.

Stafford himself says he currently uses ResMeds latest AirSense 10 Elite, which features built-in humidification, AutoRamp , and myAir .

What Is The Best Treatment For Snoring As Well As Apnea

First, it is vital to comprehend the difference in between both most common snoring problems snoring and apnea.

Snoring is frequently triggered by an obstructed respiratory tract. When there are considerable gaps in the airway, the tissue vibrates as somebody inhales and out. The resonances will make a sound that seems like snoring.

Snoring can in some cases be brought on by nasal congestion or sinus blockage, making it tough for somebody to breathe through their nose.

On the other hand, apnea is an extreme resting trouble where pauses in breathing take place during sleep. These stops can last 10 secs or longer, and also they may occur 30 or even more times each hour .

An obstruction in the upper airway can cause this.

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Sudden Cardiac Death And Sleep Apnea

Sudden cardiac death is an all too common and devastating event. Globally, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality, with SCD being the most common manifestation.

There are few studies looking at the direct connection between OSA and sudden cardiac death. However, there is a growing body of work evaluating sleep apnea as a risk factor with numerous connections highlighted in these recent studies.

One reason for so little data examining the association between OSA and SCD is because a sleep study is required to derive any incident relationship. Until recently, there wasnt any research capturing the necessary information for a large group of people with sufficient follow-up.

This changed with a clinic-based cohort study published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. This study included 10,701 adults who underwent a sleep study with a five-year follow-up. It was the first study of its kind to implicate OSA as a potential independent risk factor for SCD.

Side Effects Of Sleep Apnea

Can You Die from Insomnia?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can have serious repercussions if left untreated. This sleep disorder is identified by ongoing periods of interrupted breathing while sleeping. When this happens, breathing is either greatly reduced or temporarily stopped. There are many factors that can put people at risk for developing sleep apnea. Sleep apnea risk factors are varied, but can include obesity, being male, and the use of sedatives.1

There are three types of sleep apnea. These are: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea. It occurs when the throat muscles relax while sleeping, which causes the airways to narrow, making breathing difficult. The second type of sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, is brought about by the brain not sending signals to the body to breathe correctly during sleep, resulting in intermittent breathing during sleep. This type of sleep apnea is often caused by other neurological conditions. Lastly, there is complex sleep apnea, which is a mixture of the first two types of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can cause sleep deprivation and lack of sleep effects both your mind and body.

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What Are The Causes Of Snoring

There are lots of causes for snoring. Some of these causes consist of age, excessive weight, or narrowing of the airways. The most typical factor for snoring is being overweight, which produces a build-up of fatty cells in the back of the throat that narrows air flows and also creates vibrations in the throat and mouth.


How To Avoid Sleep Apnea And Sudden Death

The very best way to avoid sleep apnea and its potentially fatal complications starts with a proper diagnosis. An estimated 80% of severe sleep apnea sufferers dont even know they have it.

Visit your doctor if your sleeping partner notices your breathing pause followed by a gasping, choking intake of air at night or if you:

  • Wake up exhausted and experience daytime sleepiness
  • Have morning headaches or migraines
  • Have a dry mouth in the morning
  • Snore
  • Experience high blood pressure
  • Have nighttime sweating unrelated to menopause or other medical condition

If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, treatments like CPAP machines and sleep apnea dental devices can save your life. Ask your doctor about other lifestyle changes such as weight loss and cutting down on alcohol and smoking. A whole-body, holistic approach to treating sleep apnea is better for your overall health and can make a radical difference in how you feel.

Sleep apnea is a dangerous condition, but a sleep apnea dentist can help. AZ Dentist recognizes the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea and can recommend treatments that are safe and effective for you. Get in touch today for more information.

Read Also: High Variations In Blood Oxygen While Sleeping

Lets Find A Way To Prevent And Cure Sleep Apnea

The ASAA has taken on a new initiativeto help find a cure for sleep apneaso that the deaths of Carrie Fisher and others can be avoided in the future. However, this work cannot happen without volunteers and financial support. Please donate now to the ASAA and join us in finding ways to prevent and cure sleep apnea!

Many thanks and gratitude to the following publications and organizations for referencing the ASAA during their course of reporting the Carrie Fisher story:

Keeping Up With Pap Therapy

Can You Die From A Lack Of Sleep?

PAP therapy for sleep apnea is generally safe and effective. However, 46% to 83% of people diagnosed with sleep apnea do not use their PAP device as prescribed. Using your device according to your healthcare providers instructions can help you reduce your risk of many sleep apnea-related health complications.

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Can Sleep Apnea Be Fatal Could I Choke To Death In My Sleep

If youre reading this blog, there are probably many questions you are thinking about one might be could OSA be fatal? People who are newly diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea should be asking this question.

Heres the truth: yes, you can indeed choke to death in your sleep!

Choking is a part of the very serious condition of obstructive sleep apnoea it literally means a person has stopped breathing during sleep.

One study found that people with severe sleep apnoea were up to three times more likely to die prematurely, and that risk increases if the sleep disorder is not treated.

Another question might be does OSA affect my life expectancy?

Again, the truth is yes. Untreated Obstructive sleep apnoea can significantly reduce your life span. OSA also has associations with problems like heart failure, type 2 diabetes and strokes.

Is Sleep Apnea A Disability

The Social Security Administration no longer has a disability listing for sleep apnea, but it does have listings for breathing disorders, heart problems, and mental deficits. If you meet the criteria of one of the listings due to your sleep apnea, you would automatically qualify for disability benefits.

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Common Reasons Why People Die While Sleeping

Death is inevitable. In fact, it can come like a thief in the night. Dying while sleeping seems like a peaceful and pain-free way to die. But is it really the case? What does it mean to die in your sleep? And why do people die in their sleep in the first place? Although death can be an uncomfortable topic to talk about for some, in this article we will explore some common reasons why people never wake up from slumber.

Why will you want to read further? Well, it can clear your doubts once and for all and it might help you see some red flags that can potentially lead you to lifesaving treatments before its too late.

Cardiac Arrest

A death that is associated with the heart could be attributed to several medical conditions, including sudden cardiac arrest , myocardial infarction, arrhythmias , and congestive heart failure . One common effect from all of these heart conditions is the failure of the heart to pump enough blood to the rest of the body, which can be fatal.

Respiratory Arrest

The lungs and the heart complement each other. As such, when one system fails, the other will most likely follow. One type of breathing that is indicative of impending death is called the Cheyne Stokes respiration or periodic respiration. It is characterized by deep and fast breathing, followed with a gradual decrease before going for a temporary stop in breathing or apnea. The pattern repeats with each cycle lasting up to 2 minutes.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

In Conclusion

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