Can Sleep Apnea Cause Death?

April 28, 2017 |  by  |  About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a relatively common sleeping disorder. During sleep apnea the person’s breathing will be affected. The breathing will be affected to the point that during sleep the breathing will stop. In most cases this only last for a few seconds. After the few seconds have passed the person is usually woken up and they begin gasping for air. However in some rare cases death from sleep apnea is possible. So you may be wondering can sleep apnea cause death and how? The first answer is yes. Death from sleep apnea can result due to a few different reasons. We will explore these reasons in depth so you can understand how death from sleep apnea is possible.

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The most frightening dangers of sleep apnea

Sleep apnea can be treated through the use of CPAP machines. Most people respond very well to the treatment and are able to resume a normal and productive life. However in some very rare cases death from sleep apnea can result. Sleep apnea can cause an enlarged heart, cardiac issues, strokes and numerous other serious medical conditions. All of these can lead to death if not treated properly.sleep-apnea-cause-death

There is no secret to the fact the in order to sustain life, we need oxygen. We need to breathe in order to keep our vital organs alive and working properly. Our cells thrive on oxygen and when they do not get the proper amount of oxygen, they can begin to die off. Breathing is both a voluntary and involuntary action. For the most part, we breathe without even thinking about it. We don’t have to try to breathe,we just do. However, we can stop breathing if we choose to by holding our breath. Usually this only lasts until we pass out. When that happens, our automatic breathing takes over.

While we sleep we are breathing automatically. People with sleep apnea have period of interruption of the automatic breathing process. It is this disruption of our autonomic breathing patterns that will result in a lack of oxygen to our vital organs. Depending on how long and how frequent these disruptions occur will depend on the severity of the sleep apnea. Prolonged periods of time without oxygen is one way that death from sleep apnea can occur.

How can sleep apnea cause death?

One of the major areas of concern when it comes to sleep apnea and death is the amount of stress that sleep apnea can cause on the heart. Since one is having very short periods of breathing and then breathing stopping this can cause the oxygen saturation levels to drop. As these levels keep dropping the amount of carbon dioxide in the body can build up. The amount of stress that is placed on the heart due to this can cause damage that is not easily repaired.

Another way that death from sleep apnea can occur is due to the fact that heart can enlarge over time. The blood vessels will constrict due to the sleep apnea and this will cause higher blood pressure. This can either cause the heart to enlarge or can also result in a stroke. The stroke would be caused by too much pressure in the vessels. Once the bleeding from the stroke happens if it is not controlled quickly it will often result in death.

Impaired judgment and actions are also another side effect of sleep apnea. Sleep is needed to have a clear head and to make proper judgments. Many times accidents can be caused due to a lack of sleep. People who are dealing with sleep apnea every night are putting themselves at risk for potential accidents.

Lack of sleep can cause people to fall asleep at the wrong place and wrong time. Deadly accidents from people falling asleep at the wheel or with a lit cigarette in their hand are just a few examples of what how deadly sleep deprivation can be.

So, can you die from sleep apnea? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. However the good news is that sleep apnea is treatable and most people respond without any issues. Talk with your health care provider so that you can understand all the possible consequences from sleep apnea. While you can die from sleep apnea it is very rare. If you have sleep apnea be sure to get it under control and by doing so you will lessen the chances of death from sleep apnea happening to you.


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