If you’ve ever done basic research on sleep apnea, you will know the severe damage it can wreak on one of the most important body systems, the respiratory one. But how far can it all go?
It’s logical to start by asking ‘Do people die from sleep apnea?‘ To answer this question, think over this question: ‘Can you die from stroke, diabetes, and a heart attack?’. Such conditions look more dangerous than sleep apnea, don’t they? Yet, all can develop as a result of untreated apnea. This connection increases the possibility of dying from sleep apnea and figures support this statement. People with severe sleep apnea are three times higher to die prematurely.
Depending on the cause of the breathing blockage, sleep apnea is divided into three types: central, obstructive, and mixed. Below you’ll find out if all of these types are lethal and finally ‘How do you die from sleep apnea?’
Can you die from central sleep apnea?
You rarely hear of someone dying of sleep apnea. In part because people don’t die from apnea itself. Usually it affects the work of other body systems and causes multiple health problems along the way. In the case of central sleep apnea (CSA), the core problem is neurological: when the brain fails to send signals to the muscles that control your breathing. Still, timely diagnosis and treatment can prevent you from dying.
Can you die in your sleep from central sleep apnea? Good news, no. Fortunately, our body is clever enough to use protective mechanisms if something threatens our life. Snoring or waking up are two of these.
Can you die from obstructive sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is reported to cause death more often than the central one. If you Google ‘has anyone ever died from sleep apnea’, most articles will be about OSA. One of the most well-known is about Star Wars actress, Carrie Fisher.
OSA develops when the airways narrow, so the problem lies in the respiratory system not in the brain. Again, you can’t die from sleep apnea in your sleep thanks to our brain as it never sleeps even if the muscles do.
Nevertheless, any sleep apnea dramatically damages your health and requires urgent correction of the lifestyle or medical treatment.
So, can a person die from sleep apnea? Yes. Always? No. Your well-being is up to you. Sleep apnea’s biggest best friend is ignorance. Self-care and monitoring of the problems that occur during your sleep can prevent you from undesirable effects of this disorder.