Sleep Apnoea

Can Sleep Apnoea Cause Death?

Positional Therapy , Sleep Disorders , Case Studies , Snoring

People with untreated sleep apnoea can die in their sleep not directly due to the sleep disorder, but due to grave changes or alterations in their cardiovascular system. Studies indicate that deaths rooted in sleep apnoea usually happen at night. However, sleep apnoea death does not happen overnight.

Scientists concur that people with severe yet untreated sleep apnoea are more at risk of sleep apnoea death.  Studies indicate that people with sleep apnpoea are 3 times more likely to suffer congestive heart failure or stroke and the die, compared to patients without sleep apnoea but are afflicted with the same health problems.

Changes in the Body

Patients with mild to moderate sleep apnoea are likely to experience changes in their body.  Aside from excessive daytime sleepiness, they are more likely to experience morning headache, acid reflux, fitful sleep, frequent trips to the bathroom, depression, memory problem and more.

If the condition is left untreated for a long time, permanent damage to the patient’s body in the form of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, cardiac arrhythmia, coronary artery disease and heart failure, with the last three diseases as the primary causes of death due to sleep apnoea.


Risk Factors for Sleep Apnoea Death   

Cardiovascular Diseases: A study of 1,660 patients with sleeping disorder indicated that 1452 were snorers and only 208 have obstructive sleep apnoea. Seven year later, 189 of the respondents (where 90% of this number had sleep apnoea) succumbed, and 95% of the deaths were due to cardiovascular diseases. The study also showed that patients with untreated or inefficiently treated sleep apnoea were more likely to develop congestive heart failure, cardiac ischemia, coronary artery disease, heart failure and pulmonary hypertension.

Stroke and Obstructive Apnoea: The second factor in sleep apnoea death is stroke. It is also the second leading cause of death worldwide. A study of close to 700 OSA patients were tested and observed for three years. During the three years of study, most of the patients underwent CPAP therapy and other appropriate treatments for their particular diseases.  Of those with obstructive sleep apnoea, 22 had stroke and 50 died. It is believed that if the study group did not undergo any treatment, the mortality would have been higher.

Vehicular Accidents: One of the many effects of obstructive sleep apnoea is daytime sleepiness. Even people with mild to moderate OSA experience daytime sleepiness and may fall asleep while driving. Studies indicate that people with sleep apnoea are 2 to3 times more likely to figure in vehicular accidents.  People with untreated sleep apnoea must refrain from driving until the condition is effectively and efficiently treated.  Not only are they a threat to themselves but to pedestrians and other drivers as well.

Does sleep apnoea cause death? Not directly but its co-morbidities and other side effects may endanger the life of a person with untreated sleep apnoea.

Call us now for more information. We can help diagnose and recommend treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea.

Call at: 1300 750 006

Back to blog