How do you die from sleep apnea? As a sleep disorder known to interrupt the amount of rest you get nightly, it also has an onslaught of adverse effects. From increasing your blood pressure to making sufferers moodier than ever before, there are multiple illnesses for you to consider.
There have been notable cases of individuals dying from the effects of sleep apnea, such as Carrie Fisher. The truth is that anyone can fall victim to this silent killer. Knowing the signs of sleep apnea, its symptoms, as well as its most critical factors, can help you to get diagnosed to keep yourself safe.
How Do You Die from Sleep Apnea?
Approximately 38,000 people in the USA die from sleep apnea yearly, based on findings from the American Sleep Apnea Association. However, it’s not the sleep disorder itself that kills its victims; it’s more so due to its correlating issues. Heart disease is the number one concern for people who suffer from this disorder.
Here are the most prevalent dangers of sleep apnea to be aware of:
1. High Blood Pressure
When you fall asleep at night, it relies on oxygen to nourish your cells to keep your organs healthy and active. With sleep apnea, you stop breathing momentarily throughout the night, forcing your body into a state of hypoxia. Hypoxia reduces the amount of oxygen in your system, damaging your cells.
Your heart, the central organ in your body responsible for pumping blood, requires healthy blood cells that use oxygen for nourishment. The more deprived they are, the more these cells expand, which results in increased blood pressure levels. This fact also leads us to the next concern for patients with sleep apnea, which is hypertension.
While in hypoxia, all of your blood is designated to your heart and brain to maintain their functions. Your blood vessels are put under insurmountable stress as well.
Not only is this dangerous for their long-term wellbeing, but it’s also critical in the short-term as well. It is dangerous because while the blood vessels swell, they’re larger than average, which can lead to hypertension.
Continually being in a state of hypertension puts you at risk for suffering from strokes and other forms of heart disease. This is the reason a standard treatment for sleep apnea, CPAP machines, will work to provide continuous oxygen while you are asleep. CPAPs prevent hypoxia and keep all of your organs working as they should.
3. Type 2 Diabetes
Your pancreas is home to three different types of cells. Alpha cells are responsible for producing glucagon, beta cells produce insulin, and delta cells regulate your glucagon and insulin production.
All three are packed into your pancreas, so there is very little room for blood flow. Being tightly packed requires them to use a process called perfusion to transfer blood through the cells.
With perfusion, blood moves directly from cell to cell and nourishes each cell as well as provides them with oxygen. As sleep apnea disrupts oxygen production, these cells don’t get the support they need to stay healthy and alive.
As a result, your body becomes less capable of producing insulin and regulating insulin production. These effects, unfortunately, can lead to patients with sleep apnea to suffer from type 2 diabetes.
Although obesity may not kill you immediately, it can wreak havoc on many systems in your body. An unhealthy amount of body fat puts pressure on numerous organs, including your liver, kidneys, and your heart. Even your digestive tract can become irreparably damaged from carrying an excessive amount of fat cells.
A study from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology determined that obesity and sleep apnea correlate in many ways. Those who suffer from sleep apnea are more likely to be obese, and obese individuals are more likely to have sleep apnea. They also found that sleep apnea symptoms become worse if you are considered unhealthily overweight.
An example of worsening symptoms is the inability to sleep at night due to constantly waking up from sleep apnea. When you are obese, there is more fat surrounding your tracheal tubes, which are responsible for the intake of oxygen to your lungs and organs. The heavier the surrounding tissues are, the more likely the soft tissues in your throat are to collapse.
That is why a healthy weight loss plan is highly recommended for individuals who are obese with sleep apnea. The less weight you have to worry about, the less obstructed your airway will be at night.
5. Anesthesia and Surgery
You’ve likely heard of instances where individuals have died while receiving surgery. At times, this could be because they did not disclose their sleep apnea diagnosis to their surgeon or anesthesiologist. When you are under general anesthesia, your body is far more at risk for obstructive sleep apnea, causing you to stop breathing entirely.
Instead of undergoing a necessary surgery and putting yourself at risk of stop breathing while being operated on, it’s best if you receive a diagnosis as soon as possible. You must also discuss with your medical team about possible complications so that they can monitor you closely during surgery. A conversation will keep everyone apprised of your condition, so there aren’t any mishaps to worry about.
6. Everyday Accidents
Accidents aren’t a specific medial illness to be worried about; however, it is something to make a note of. When you don’t receive at least eight uninterrupted hours of sleep per night, your brain never reaches a state of full consciousness. You might find your attention span has worsened and your attentiveness isn’t at the level it should be at.
Not only does this result in moodiness, but it can also result in slower reflexes and in the inability to get out of a tired state of mind. Grogginess puts you at a higher risk of dying from everyday accidents ranging from car accidents to tripping down the stairs. Also, if you work in a field that requires machinery, you won’t be able to operate the machines as efficiently as you should.
Receiving a diagnosis for your sleep apnea will help you to get the amount of sleep your body needs, so you are alert and ready for the day. You’ll be less likely to fall asleep behind the wheel or to cause other accidents in your day-to-day life.
What Are the Treatments for Sleep Apnea?
There is a multitude of treatments to rely on when you want to get rid of your sleep apnea. Some patients prefer more invasive therapies, such as surgery, while others prefer treatments they have control over, such as the Stop Snoring and Sleep Apnea Program.
Designed to be a holistic at-home treatment that you can do on your own time, it’s one of the better alternatives available to consider. The Stop Snoring and Sleep Apnea Program will give you four tailored exercises based on your type of snoring. For example, if you snore through your soft palate, you’ll be focusing on strengthening that area.
It’s a far less invasive and less time-consuming therapy that you can complete in less than seven minutes per night. Another reason this program is recommended is that it’s easy to follow. Your whole family can do the exercises, regardless of age. There’s also no need to worry about auxiliary devices, implants, or even CPAP machines.
If you’ve ever wondered, how do you die from sleep apnea, there are lots of ways it can affect your overall health. Even though you aren’t guaranteed to die, you are putting your body at a higher risk of suffering from multiple ailments by not getting a diagnosis. Heart disease is by far the most concerning illness for people with sleep apnea.
To live a healthier and happier life, it is highly recommended that you consider diabetes, hypertension, surgical procedures, and day-to-day accidents as the primary causes of death for people with this sleep disorder. Also, ensure you look into the Stop Snoring and Sleep Apnea Program as a potential treatment for this harrowing sleep disorder.