According to Elaine K Luo, MD – “The condition known as Sleep Apnea is when you temporarily stop breathing while sleeping. This happens when your upper airway collapses or gets blocked during your sleep. Can sleep apnea kill you? Yes, it can tremendously harm your physical mental and emotional health.
Whenever this takes places, your body forces you to walk up by a loud snore and restart the breathing.
People with Sleep apnea often experience frequent interruptions in their sleeping cycle. With their sleep-disordered; they find themselves low on energy and feeling very tired throughout the day.”
The American Academy of Sleep Apnea Association further explains –
This condition not just makes you experience daytime sleepiness. If you ignore its treatment; you can also experience constant headaches, Diabetes, high blood pressure, risks of a heart attack and other long-term complications!
Some of Those Long-Term Health Complications Include as Follows –
- Loss of Memory
- Immune System Weakening
- Weight gain
- Worsening of Asthma Symptoms
- Increase in (GERD) – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Problems
- Heartburns Worsening
- Increase in High Blood Pressure Rate
- Difficulty in Breathing
- Higher risks of cancer
- More threats of Hypoxia – low oxygen levels in the body, especially during sleep
- More possibilities Of Heart Disease, Heart Failure & Irregular Heart Rhythms
- Increase in Fatty Liver Diseases with Higher than usual Levels of Liver Enzymes
- Experiencing low sexual desires which further contributes to Erectile Dysfunction
- Increases in the risks of High LDL- which categorises as Bad Cholesterol Levels
The Million-Dollar Question – CAN SLEEP APNEA KILL YOU?
A common question which many asks is – Can Sleep Apnea Be Lethal Enough to Kill You?
The American Sleep Apnea Association believes they most certainly can; if this medical condition is left untreated! Just take the example of Carrie Fisher, who died due to this Sleep Apnea condition!
Some Scary Statistics in Further Support of This –
- In the USA, over 40,000 Deaths Take Place Due to Heart Diseases Every Year. And most of them are due to Sleep Apnea.
- It tends to happen more in men than in women. The American Academy of Sleep Apnea points out that 1 Out of Every 5 Middle-Aged – Senior Adults Suffer from Sleep Apnea. And without prompt treatment, health complications increase and worsen over time.
- People with Sleep Apnea are more prone to getting Diabetes in comparison to those who don’t
- Even Children can suffer from this risky condition.
- The scariest part is over 70-80% of US citizens (and close to 65 –70% of inhabitants around the world) aren’t even aware of their condition!
In addition to these; The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) points out –
“A person who suffers from Sleep Apnea for 4-5 years, their chances of having a heart stroke increases by a whopping 30-35%.”
Some of the Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea Are as Follows –
The only viable way to prevent this condition from damaging the heart is identifying its severity and treating it as early as possible! But, as 80% of people remain unaware of this risky condition, therein lays the main problem.
However, there are some common symptoms which one can carefully follow to determine whether they have Sleep Apnea or not!
- Snoring very loudly
- Waking up lacking in energy every day
- Experiencing irritating headaches each morning
- Unable to sleep in a proper restful manner
- Experiencing a dry or sore throat on waking
- Having impulsive mood swings
- Unable to concentrate properly
- Suffering from repeated forgetfulness
- Waking up repeatedly at night with a choking sensation and gasping for oxygen
- Feeling sleepy whenever driving
- Lacking interest in sex or physical intimacy
- Going to the bathroom numerous times at night
If you suffer from any one of these symptoms, it may not indicate that you have the Sleep Apnea. But, if you experience a multiple of these symptoms regularly, then schedule a doctor’s visit immediately!
The Common Types of Sleep Apnea –
This Common Sleep Apnea Condition Is Of 3 Types.
1. Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome –
This condition is mainly a combination of both the Obstructive and Central Sleep Apnea condition. This makes it the most severe condition of the three.
2. Central Sleep Apnea –
This condition takes place when your brain cannot control the breathing as it is unable to send the correct signals to your body muscles.
3. Obstructive Sleep Apnea –
This is perhaps the commonest Sleep Apnea condition. And it happens mainly when your upper airway either narrows or is blocked.
Who Are More at Risk of Sleep Apnea?
After answering the all-important question- ‘Can Sleep Apnea Kill You’; it is time to see who are more; at risk!
According to a 2013 report from the American College of Cardiology –
“Those are having Sleep Apnea for over 2-3 years can experience sudden episodes of cardiac arrest. And depending on the age of the individual, those strokes can be lethal as well!”
The Study Further Pointed Out That People Who Are More Prone to Death Due to This Condition Are –
- Individuals over 60 years old
- People whose oxygen level shows below 78% while sleeping
- And individuals suffering (equal to or more than) 20 Sleep Apnea episodes at every sleeping hour
Possible Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea –
Can Sleep Apnea Kill You? – You already know the truth by now!
But the good news is there are treatment options for this condition. And they are mentioned as follows –
- Refrain from excessive smoking
- Avoid alcohol consumption
- Quit using sleeping pills and heavy sedatives
- Regularly exercise to reduce weight and stay fit.
- Altering your sleeping postures and habits
- Making use of nasal decongestants and humidifiers
In Addition to These Remedies; You Can Also Look into the Following Treatment Options
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine (CPAP machine)
The CPAP machine features small air pumps which cover your mouth and nose – more like a face mask. It supplies compressed air to the upper airway during sleep. You can check Are Sinus Infections Contagious? Must-Know Facts!
Despite being a tad uncomfortable to sleep with; especially at the start, this device does help improve the condition of those suffering from mind to severe Sleep Apnea conditions.
Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD)
This is another common device which helps treat patients with moderate sleep disorders or breathing issues. Patients sleep; wearing this device (which does appear like dental gum shields) above their teeth.
It tactfully holds the tongue and jaws to make more room at the back of the patient’s throat. And this is to prevent their airways from narrowing or getting blocked.
However, patients should consult with their doctor and custom-design their model, which doesn’t make them feel uncomfortable while sleeping!
Surgery (The Last Resort)
If neither of the above oral appliance(s) works, then going for surgery is the last remedial resort. Although there are chances of severe complications during surgery, they do have a relatively positive outcome.
Some of Those Popular Surgery Options Include as Follows –
- Bariatric Surgery
Can Sleep Apnea Kill You…? This lucid post gives you lots of proof that it most certainly can. However, early identification of this condition with proper treatment can prevent that. So not all hopes are lost!
Look to monitor your health properly. Change your lifestyle as per the above remedies. Work out every day to stay in tip-top shape.
And, regularly consult with your doctor about the best course of treatment to follow.