How Can A Person Die From Sleep Apnea?

How can a person die from sleep apnea? Due to lack of oxygen to the brain and/or heart, heart attack or stroke are the most common reasons people die from sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is not to be taken lightly. It is one of the world’s most renowned silent killers in two aspects. One, it is the one of the largest undiagnosed conditions in the world. All studies are only guesses to how many people actually have it.

There are millions of people who do not know they have, or choose not to treat sleep apnea, and have shorter lifespans as a result. Two, it can cause death in the night hours, while you thought you were sleeping silently.

I’m Aaron, sleep expert. This article is not meant to scare you, but if it scares you into seeking treatment for you or a loved one, then that is a win for life and well-being!

How People Die From Sleep Apnea

Jenna Rhoads R.N. says that sleep apnea can cause immediate death during an apneic episode.  Due to lack of oxygen, tissue begins to die in the brain and/or heart which results in a fatal heart attack or stroke while you are asleep.

The Cleveland Clinic also backs this report by saying it can cause sudden cardiac arrest. This means your heart completely stops while you are asleep and no one is around to resuscitate you.

According to sleep specialist Chad Denman at Sleep Cycle Center, death and sleep apnea are directly related. He says that more than anything, it is because the increase of complications that arise as a result.

People who have obstructive sleep apnea (osa), have a 30% more chance of having a heart attack, stroke, and/or premature death with it peaking around the age of 55.

Denman also says other health problems can be a result of sleep apnea as well. Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and thyroid disease are conditions people are likely to have that suffer from untreated sleep apnea.

There have been more studies completed and they show that when having these breathing episodes during the night, certain heart stressors begin to occur. These stressors are said to put your heart out of rhythm. These are:

  • Chest Pressure Changes Due to Blockage
  • Fight-or-Flight occurs
  • Oxygen Levels Go Down

The Good News

The scare is over! Sleep Apnea can be treated! As you may know, CPAP (continual positive airway pressure) is the most common treatment. People who use this treatment usually live long, normal, healthy lives.

Also, it may not be as bad as you think. Studies have also shown that people with mild sleep apnea have been cured by implementing lifestyle changes.

You are not alone. The number of people who currently suffer from sleep apnea is astounding. The most important thing is if you suspect, then act!

Call your family doctor and have them refer you to a sleep specialist to get a sleep study appointment.