Healthy Living

It Happened to Carrie Fisher. How Possible Is It to Die from Sleep Apnea?

Not treating sleep apnea can put your health at risk

Sleep apnea goes untreated for several reasons. Some patients don't even realize that they have an issue, or some just don't want the inconvenience of wearing the mask and using the CPAP machine. The following are just some of the complications that can cause death:

  • If you don’t treat your sleep apnea, you are more likely to have a heart attack, according to Sleep Health Heart Study results in the American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine.
  • You are at least three times higher at risk for having a stroke.
  • You are at risk of premature death (up to 3 times more than those without sleep apnea.)
  • If you have had sleep apnea for up to 5 years and it is untreated, you have a 30% increase in risk for having a heart attack or dying.

The New England Journal of Medicine published research findings in 2005 that stated those with sleep apnea are more likely to die in their sleep because of cardiac events. Those who die of heart attacks but who do not have sleep apnea suffer death from cardiac events during the day. Low blood-oxygen levels and high carbon dioxide levels in the bloodstream led to surges in blood pressure, disruptions to the heart’s electrical rhythms and oxidative stress to your heart walls.