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Could Sleep Apnea Kill You

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Considering The Causes Of Sleep Apnea

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Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when any part of the airway from the tip of the nose to the lungs collapses during sleep and disrupts breathing. As such, it is often due to a persons underlying anatomy. A deviated nasal septum or enlarged turbinates in the nose may disrupt airflow. A floppy soft palate, big tonsils or adenoids, or a large tongue may block the passage at the throat.

The lining of the airway itself may prove to be an obstruction. Chronic snoring leads to vibration of the airway and damage. This may contribute to swelling along the passage that narrows it even further. In time, nerve receptors may become less responsive, and the muscles may not be able to keep sufficient tone to support the airway. Weight gain, especially when it leads to a large neck, may also worsen the situation.

Sleeping on your back may allow the tongue to fall back into the airway, further contributing to obstruction and sleep apnea. The use of alcohol, especially in the few hours prior to sleep, may make the airway muscles more collapsible as well. All of these various contributions must be taken into account when considering whether sleep apnea can go away.

Connecting The Dots: Heart Disease Drug Use Mental Illness And Sleep Apnea

Heart diseasea well-known comorbidity to sleep apneawas clearly a factor in Fishers death. Other factors from the coroners report show negative correlations with sleep apnea as well.

Heart disease and sleep apnea

Its well known in medical circles that an estimated 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, with the vast majority of cases still undiagnosed. Some statistics on sleep apnea mortality estimate that at least 38,000 people die annually from heart disease directly complicated by sleep apnea.

Those people suffering from a heart condition might be well advised to take a look at their sleep health to better understand why, as a quarter of all deaths in the US are cardiac related. Heart disease kills more people than any other illness or condition, and for those who die as the result of it, at least 6 percent have been shown to have had sleep apnea, as well.

Women experience heart disease differently than men, as well. Two forms of cardiac problems more typical for women include nonobstructive coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis.

In Carrie Fishers case, atherosclerosis was the condition that led to her heart attack.

Sleep apnea, because it further stresses heart function and deprives the body of blood oxygen, can only worsen whats already a bad situation.

Drug use and sleep apnea

Unfortunately, substance use and abuse can also cause sleep disturbances, which only frustrates the matter.

Mental illness and sleep apnea

Can I Die From Sleep Apnea

It might be difficult to directly die from sleep apnea, as your body forces you to wake up and gasp for air when you stop breathing, making your breathing resume normally. This mechanism blows your chances of suffocating during sleep.

But this is not how it works, this is like saying people dont die from diabetes, they die from poor quality of life, pain, disability, shortened lifespan, and dysfunction.

The same applies to patients of sleep apnea, they have higher chances of imbalanced body and brain chemistry, cardiac and respiratory dysfunctions, and higher heart rates and blood pressure. This, in the long run, can greatly decrease lifespan and increase mortality. In fact, if you have untreated sleep apnea, youre 3 times more prone to premature death.

According to studies, people with sleep apnea have a 2.5-fold increased chance of sudden death while sleeping between midnight and 6 a.m.

The more severe your sleep apnea, the greater the chance for death. In the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort follow-up study, published in Sleep in 2008, heart disease was; found to be responsible for 42% of fatalities in persons with severe sleep apnea. In clinical terminology, severe is characterised as having 20 or more respiratory episodes per hour on the apnea-hypopnea index .

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Heart Problems And High Blood Pressure

People with sleep apnea are more prone to heart problems and high blood pressure. Any interruption in breathing can lead to sudden drop in your oxygen levels. Such drops can make the blood pressure rise and push your cardiovascular system to its limits.

Furthermore, according to a Yale University study, individuals who have experienced sleep apnea for up to 5 years have a 30% increased chance of having a heart attack or dying.

Sleep apnea increases your risk of heart attack, abnormal heartbeats, and stroke . Such events tend to occur more in the morning, which is the common time in which REM sleep takes place and when sleep apnea occurs more.

If you already suffer from heart problems, sleep apnea will only make it worse by depriving your body of the oxygen in the blood.

Can A Cpap Machine Make You Sick

How Your Snoring Partner Could Kill You

Those who use CPAP machines need to clean and maintain them well. This is because a contaminated device could expose your skin to harmful germs, resulting in dirty bacteria touching your face and possibly causing irritation or infection.

Additionally, if the pump is not properly cleaned, you could breathe in bacteria or mold.

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Can Sleep Apnea Kill You Here Are The Results From A Recent Study

Jill Zwarensteyn Disclaimer – Nothing on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment… Read more here

Sleep Apnea is a disorder in which you repeatedly stop breathing while asleep.

There are two primary types: Obstructive and Central . However, some people may experience both forms, and this is categorized as Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome.

While some symptoms of this sleep disorder, like snoring, may come across as a mere nuisance, this condition can be more severe than you realize.

Well answer whether you can die from sleep apnea, the important symptoms and treatments you should know about, and other relevant health questions relating to this topic.

Medical Insurance May Cover The Device

Lately getting things covered by health insurance seems difficult but with sleep apnea oral appliances the opposite seem to be true. In the last several years insurance companies have been covering these devices more often than not for people with true sleep apnea. I think the reason coverage is easier is because wearing one can improve other conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, depression, weight gain, stroke, acid reflux, etc. This means insurance companies will possibly save money in the long run by not having to treat these more expensive diseases.

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Make Sure You Have The Proper Mask

CPAP masks are available as nasal masks, full-face masks, and nasal pillows because one type of mask isnt suitable for everyone. Before choosing a mask, there are a few factors you should consider. Mouth breathing, claustrophobia, sleep position, and machine pressure are important areas to evaluate. These should be discussed with your doctor before choosing which type of mask you should be wearing.

Avoid Alcohol And Sleeping Pills

IS SLEEP APNEA LETHAL? : Did it kill Carrie Fisher?

If you have trouble sleeping, try a cup of decaffeinated herbal tea or juice instead of unwinding with a glass of wine. Alcohol and certain medications can make throat muscles relax more than normal. As a result, airways can get blocked. Alcohol and medications can also make it harder for your brain to “wake up” and register a lack of oxygen in the body. This can cause longer and more serious pauses in breathing. If you find it hard to fall asleep, try reading a book or taking a warm bath.

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Circulatory And Cardiovascular Systems

Sleep apnea has been linked to obesity and high blood pressure, which increase the strain on your heart. If you have apnea, youre more likely to have an abnormal heart rhythm such as atrial fibrillation, which could increase your risk of a stroke. Heart failure is also more common in people with sleep apnea.

Can You Die From Lack Of Sleep

While not sleeping wont outright kill you, the effects it has on your body can be fatal. After several days of not sleeping, your organs begin to shut down, and sections of your brain will degenerate.

Also, lack of rest inhibits your judgment and alertness, so youre more likely to make a fatally bad decision or be involved in an accident.

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Increased Risk Of Deadly Accidents

Studies;show that there is an increased risk of deadly motor vehicle and working accidents associated with sleep apnea. Even though these accidents are usually anecdotally reported, the past few decades weve seen clear evidence that sleep apnea affects peoples poor performance, attention, and reaction time, which in some cases led to a deadly outcome.

The aforementioned studies have also shown the accident rate in sleep apnea-related cases; there are 13 sleep-apnea related deaths per million km in cases of untreated patients.

The factors that determine the accident rate in sleep apnea-related cases usually relate to sleepiness, alcohol consumption, poor judge driving performance, and in some cases, heart-related issues.

Sleep apnea causes excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, attention and concentration issues, frequent headaches, and poor performance. All of these sleep apnea effects appear during the day, when were more likely to work, drive, operate heavy machinery, etc. Other risk factors contribute to sleep apnea having such effects on our ability to function during the day, for example;

  • Driving during mid-afternoon or night hours,
  • Driving during the day when youre sleep-deprived,
  • Driving on highways or major roads,
  • Being of male sex ,
  • Consumption of drugs and alcohol,
  • Shift work,

Can Sleep Apnea Kill You Is There A Risk

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Sleeping is vital for good health. While we sleep, our body starts its healing process, and it helps us get ready for the next day. It is essential to have a full nights sleep; however, few conditions like sleep apnea cause interruption in our sleeping cycles. Its a health disorder in which your breathing stops suddenly, and you wake up. Moreover, the condition repeats several times, interrupting your sleep. Can sleep apnea kill you? To know, read the following article that describes this disorder, its types, severity, and treatments. Remember that sleep apnea is a severe condition, and dont ignore it to face the consequences.

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Is It Possible To Die From Sleep Apnea

Some would argue that you might not actually die in your sleep from apnea. When the body senses its not getting enough oxygen during sleep, it forces an awakening. At this time, the breathing airways open and breathing resumes. Because of this mechanism, you stand no chance of suffocating in your sleep.

But thats not the point. In fact, its like saying people dont die from AIDS. No, they die from the inevitable complications that come from HIV. Its true for people with diabetes, as well. No, diabetes does not kill a person outright; its a long process that results in poor quality of life, disability, pain, dysfunction, and a shortened lifespan.

Semantics dont change the facts:;mortality risks have been shown in clinical research to be higher in those who have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea disrupts circadian rhythms, imbalances body and brain chemistry, interrupts cardiac and respiratory function, elevates blood pressure, and speeds up the hearts rate. When allowed to continue, untreated, it absolutely will lead to higher mortality for those who dont treat it.

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:

  • Tel: 293-3650
  • Fax: 293-3650

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Medication And Surgery Complications

Certain surgeries, anesthesia, and some medications can negatively affect people with sleep apnea, since theyre more prone to breathing problems. If youre undergoing a surgery, you should notify your doctor about your sleep apnea in advance.

Some people rely on drugs to get better sleep or to achieve wakefulness throughout the day, but according to a National Institutes of Health study published in 2009, substance abuse can lead to sleep disturbances, making the situation a lot more worse.

Can Sleep Apnea Kill You What You Need To Know Now

Life with Sleep Apnea | Philips | Respironics

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where the body stops and starts breathing. The pauses between breaths can last for several seconds to several minutes, and often comes with intense snoring, snorting, or choking sounds.

There are treatments to help sleep apnea, but sometimes it can be a potentially dangerous disorder. Not only can irregular breathing during sleep cause complications, but people with sleep apnea will often feel tired and drowsy during the day due to a lack of sleep. This can affect the ability to work and drive safely.

So, can sleep apnea kill you? In some cases, sleep apnea can be the cause of death due to the complications it forms. Here is why sleep apnea is considered one of the most dangerous sleeping disorders.

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Natural Ways To Treat Sleep Apnea

Healthy Weight

If your obstructive sleep apnea is mild and doesnt occur frequently, your health specialist will recommend losing weight Obesity in the upper body often results in a thick neck which is the common culprit behind obstructive sleep apnea. The airway obstruction occurs, and you then find yourself gasping for air.

A lot of studies say that losing a small amount of weight can yield various positive results for treating sleep apnea. The research shows the symptoms are minimized and often so eliminated. Moreover, the reduced symptoms also mean reduced demand for CPAP therapy or upper airway surgery.

If your symptoms disappear with weight loss, remember that you must maintain a healthy weight, or the symptoms will return. In addition to healthy nutrition, drink a lot of water, not before bed, however. Also, try to lay off excess caffeine and alcohol.

Changing Sleep Position

While battling sleep apnea, a lot of doctors recommend changing sleep style, especially if youre sleeping on your back, thats the worst sleeping position for sleep apnea based on research from Terry Cralle, a registered nurse and sleep educator.;


While Yoga isnt a scientifically-proven way to put an end to sleep apnea, a lot of people report positive results from embracing it. Whats known is that participating in Yoga exercises rises the energy level while improving the oxygen flow in our body. Finally, it also improves respiratory function and improves oxygen saturation in the blood.

Thoughts On 5 Areas Of Brain Damage Caused By Obstructive Sleep Apnea

  • Stacey

    I am am 33 year old respiratory therapist and been on CPAP for over a year. I do not snore at all when I sleep. My sats NEVER went below 95% during any sleep study I have had. I NEVER wake up short of breath or gasping for air. When placed on CPAP, I truly thought it would make things betterI was FAR from wrong. I tried over 20 different masks.EVERY one broke the skin down on my face no matter what I tried. Next, my fiance would tell me I would kick, toss, shake and turn in my sleep. Something I NEVER did NOT using CPAP. Numerous nights I woke up with the tubing wrapped around my neck!!! I felt soooooo much worse in the morning sleeping with the CPAPlike I NEVER slept at allwhich was trueI would wake up every 1-2 hours with the CPAP . I developed horrendous night sweats on CPAP. They would get so bad I could squeeze the sweat out of my pjs. They also started to get a really foul smell. After 1+ years of being very compliant , I stopped using it. I feel better sleeping without it. I dropped 10 lbs almost instantly stopping the CPAP. If I have to choose the lesser of the 2 evilsI choose NO CPAPeither way was killing me 🙁

  • Stacey,

    Sorry to hear about your bad experience with CPAP. Unfortunately, its a common situation for many people. CPAP can be a miracle for many people, but for others it can make your sleep even worse. The good news is that there are many other options available. Its only a matter of being persistent and trying different options one by one.

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    Increased Risk Of High Blood Pressure And Type 2 Diabetes

    Studies;show that the association between sleep apnea and high blood pressure or hypertension is very clear. The association between these two contribute to the changes in the body that are a risk factor for mortality.

    However, these studies also show that high blood pressure is a so-called modifiable risk factor for high blood pressure in sleep apnea. The reason for that lies in the fact that it can be prevented through proper treatment.

    The treatment options usually include CPAP therapy and significant weight loss. However, if left untreated, sleep apnea will not only progress into high blood pressure, but it will be the direct cause of cardiovascular complications and death due to heart failure or attack.

    Other;studies;show that type 2 diabetes is prevalent in sleep apnea patients. The results of these studies imply that sleep apnea is directly associated with excessive weight and higher Body Mass Index, both of which are known to be associated with type 2 diabetes. If left untreated, the effect of sleep apnea on weight gain, physical weakness, and poor diet can directly result in type 2 diabetes, which has a rather high mortality rate.

    The risk of death in type 2 diabetics younger than 55 is up to;40% higher;than in older ones. Moreover, in the US alone this percentage amounts to 40,000 deaths among patients with type 2 diabetes.

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