Can sleep apnea kill you? Many individuals consider whether sleep apnea is life-threatening. Short breathing pauses while sleeping is probably not the cause of death directly. However, it may raise your risk of passing away from other serious illnesses. Diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure are all made worse by sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that seriously disrupts not only your sleep but also the sleep of those around you. The consequences of not receiving treatment can even be life-threatening.
What is Sleep Apnea?
When you have sleep apnea, you frequently stop breathing during the night. This could be brought on by something obstructing the airway or a breathing reflex problem.
Sleep apnea comes in three different forms:
- Central- The brain is unable to communicate with the breathing muscles.
- Obstructive- Soft tissues block the airway in the throat or neck. The most typical kind is this one.
- Complex- Combining both central and obstructive sleep apnea, this condition.
Your breathing may stop and start 400 times a night if you have sleep apnea. The body is deprived of the oxygen it needs to operate at its best.
Your personal and professional lives may suffer from all those stops and starts. Even after 7 to 9 hours of sleep, if you consistently wake up feeling sleepy, sleep apnea may be to blame.
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Can Sleep Apnea Kill You?
The breathing pauses associated with sleep apnea are unlikely to result in death. In other words, your breathing won’t just suddenly stop. However, OSA can raise your risk for both short-term and long-term health problems that could be fatal, some of which could result in a sudden demise.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a risk for whom?
Nobody is safe from developing sleep apnea. Individuals of all ages and sizes are impacted. The idea that it only affects adults with bulkier bodies is untrue. Children and people in a healthy weight range can both have sleep apnea.
Typical sleep apnea risk factors include:
- Heavier body weight: More fat can accumulate along the larynx and narrow the opening if you are heavier. More than 65% of adults with sleep apnea have this problem.
- Larger neck size: Do the collars of your shirts fit snugly? The bottom of the tongue and larynx have more tissue when the neck is larger. This might prevent airflow.
- Enlarged tonsils: The windpipe may become blocked by thick tonsil tissue at the back of the throat. Large adenoids can also make the nasal passage smaller (at the back of the nose). They both may make breathing difficult.
- Chronic nasal congestion: It may be more difficult to breathe because this is frequently worse at night.
- Alcohol: This can result in the muscles of the mouth and trachea losing tone and constricting airflow.
- Menopause: The decrease in progesterone that occurs once menopause begins may result in the tongue’s muscles relaxing. In addition, this group tends to gain weight.
- Smoking: The toxicants in cigarettes can cause throat and nasal swelling. This might close off the airway.
- Genetics: Nearly 40% of sleep apnea cases are caused by genetic factors. You are more likely to have sleep apnea if you have physical characteristics like the contour of your jaw or airway.
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
A sleep study is the most accurate way to identify sleep apnea. During this test, you are connected to a device that tracks your respiratory system, vitals, and movement patterns while sleeping. Although sleep studies are typically performed in a sleep lab, you can also perform one at home. The ideal location can be chosen by both you and your provider.
How is sleep apnea controlled?
It takes a lifetime to develop sleep apnea. But persistent therapy can significantly reduce symptoms. However, a permanent solution is rarely found. Medical therapies and lifestyle modifications are used to treat sleep apnea.
These may consist of the following:
- Weight loss
- healthy eating
- Giving up smoking
- Adjusting your sleeping position, such as switching from lying on your back to your side
- A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device delivers air through a mask to keep your airway open overnight.
- Removal of soft tissue from tonsils, adenoids, uvula, palate, and
- pharmaceuticals to lessen symptoms
When to Consult a Medical Professional?
If you or a loved one frequently experiences breathing pauses, you should get checked out by a doctor. Breathing issues during sleep shouldn’t be considered unimportant because they can eventually lead to more serious issues.
A sleep study will provide a conclusive explanation for the cause, even though other signs or symptoms may point to the diagnosis. Fortunately, efficient treatment options are available, such as using a CPAP machine or oral equipment.
Get the care you require to improve your breathing and sleep by speaking with your healthcare provider. You will be happy you did.
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Snoring and disturbing others are fewer complex symptoms of sleep apnea. Your breathing stops, which can cause serious health issues. The signs of sleep apnea must be treated because they will not disappear on their own.
But some solutions work. Don’t let it slide, then! To breathe easier at night, immediately make an appointment with your healthcare provider. This blog helps you understand “Can sleep apnea kill you?”