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Can Untreated Sleep Apnea Be Fatal?

April 26, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — sleepdunwoodyteam @ 1:27 pm
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The current estimate is that over 20 million Americans are struggling with sleep apnea, but every major healthcare organization agrees that the real number is likely much larger because roughly 80% of cases go undiagnosed. While it’s well-documented that sleep apnea is terrible for your health, can it actually kill you? The answer is actually quite nuanced and shows that being tired all the time isn’t the worst thing the condition can cause.

Can Sleep Apnea Kill You?

To answer the biggest question first—no, there have been no cases where sleep apnea was deemed the cause of death. While it causes someone to stop breathing throughout the night, the body tends to always wake up and restart respiration if nothing else gets in the way. However, it’s been shown time and time again in research that sleep apnea can directly contribute to things that are consistently fatal.

How Sleep Apnea Can Be Deadly

  • Hypertension: Sleep apnea causes a dramatic spike in blood pressure, which is a leading contributor to heart attack and stroke.
  • Heart Attack & Stroke: Approximately 50,000 cardiac-related deaths in the US are directly connected to sleep apnea.
  • Accidents: Sleep deprivation increases the risk of a motor vehicle accident by 3x (which is worse than alcohol) and also contributes to workplace incidents.

How to Keep Yourself Safe

The reasons listed above are why people are strongly encouraged to get their sleep apnea professionally treated as soon as possible. It not only poses a risk to their health, but to anyone they share the road/workspace with as well.

Quitting smoking and losing weight are great long-term solutions, but to get relief right now, it’s wise to reach out to a sleep dentist. They can provide a specialized oral appliance that allows someone to breathe normally throughout the night and get the quality rest they need. This not only helps with someone’s overall energy level, but it also drastically reduces the chances of encountering the problems touched on above.

For your health, general comfort, and the safety of those around you, it’s important not to ignore your sleep apnea. Treatment cannot only make you feel better in your day-to-day life, but also give you many more days to spend with your friends and loved ones.

About the Author

Dr. Jeff Rodgers is an expert in sleep dentistry who has been practicing for over 20 years. He earned his dental doctorate at the University of Alabama School of Dentistry and began taking advanced courses in sleep dentistry to master the use of oral appliances and other treatment options to help his patients get a better night’s rest. Call (770) 394-4310 to schedule a sleep apnea consultation at Sleep Better Georgia or visit the website to learn more.

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