Can you die from sleep apnoea?
In short, yes, along with its interactions with other life-threatening conditions sleep apnoea can kill you.
Left untreated, people with sleep apnoea are more likely to:
- Have a heart attack1 or stroke2 (2–3 more times likely);
- Have high blood pressure3 or type 2 diabetes;4
- Be involved in a deadly vehicle accident.5
Because of the health risks, including links between sleep apnoea and serious medical conditions as well as an increased chance of accident due to tiredness, researchers have claimed that there may be a link between sleep apnoea and an “increased likelihood of premature death.”6
We’re not trying to shock with our headline, but this is a question we’re asked regularly and we want to make sure that people know how serious this condition is but also that there are potentially life-changing solutions available.
Patrick Stafford certainly knows the risks. Patrick is a 27-year-old husband, father and writer for tech media outlet Gizmodo. He also has severe sleep apnoea and recently wrote an article about his journey to diagnosis and introduction to CPAP. The title “The deadly reality of living with sleep apnoea” In it, he doesn’t mince his words but states the reality of the risk which come with OSA.
CPAP treatment is vastly improved an more effective than ever.
Whilst, when left untreated, sleep apnoea can have serious effects, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) treatment is clinically proven to reduce these risks.7,8 Moreover, the latest therapy equipment have an array of features for added comfort and ease of use compared to some of the older models shown in Patrick’s article.
Patrick currently uses ResMed’s AirSense 10 which features built-in humidification, AutoRamp™ (to keep your air pressure comfortably lower until you fall asleep), and myAir™ (a free program that lets you track your nightly CPAP data on your smartphone or computer).
It’s all about what you gain
In Paul’s story, his main driver to commence therapy was to reduce harmful risks – which CPAP can help with. But he also acknowledges everything he has gained since using CPAP – not least the vastly improved energy to perform at his job, the alertness to get there safely, and still have enough in the tank to be with his wife and son when he gets home at night. As he says, “I feel alive. More than I’ve ever felt.”
We hope you share Patrick’s story with others and if you know anyone new to sleep therapy or who may not yet be diagnosed, help encourage them to rediscover a great night’s sleep and reap the benefits that Patrick and his family have.
Please note: Our comment section is a forum for patients to share experiences and ideas with one another. Please discuss any medical advice with your doctor or equipment provider. If you have a specific product question, please contact ResMed’s Customer Service team.
- Shahar E et al. Sleep-disordered breathing and cardiovascular disease: Cross-sectional results of the Sleep Heart Health Study. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2001;163(1):19–25.
- Redline S et al. Obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnea and incident stroke: The sleep heart health study. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2010;182:269–77.
- Marin JM et al. Association between treated and untreated obstructive sleep apnoea and risk of hypertension. J Am Med Assoc2012;307(20):2169–76.
- Einhorn D et al. Prevalence of sleep apnoea in a population of adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Endocr Pract2007;13(4):355–62.
- Horstmann S et al. Sleepiness-related accidents in sleep apnoea patients. Sleep2000;23(3):1–7.
- Young T et al. Sleep disordered breathing and mortality: Eighteen-year follow-up of the Wisconsin sleep cohort. Sleep2008;31(8):1071–8.
- Buchner NJ et al. Continuous positive airway pressure treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnoea reduces cardiovascular risk. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2007;176(12):1274–80.
- Babu AR et al. Type 2 diabetes, glycemic control, and continuous positive airway pressure in obstructive sleep apnoea. Arch Intern Med 2005;165(4):447–52.
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