How can untreated sleep apnea lead to sudden cardiac death?

Did you know that choking, snoring, shortness of breath, 

daytime drowsiness, and multiple episodes of nighttime awakenings are all indications that you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea?

 OSA has been linked as a precursor to multiple health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and even sudden cardiac death.

How can untreated sleep apnea lead to sudden cardiac death?

According to the results of a long-term study, 7 out of 100 people with obstructive sleep apnea may die from sudden cardiac death if obstructive sleep apnea is not treated.

What is sudden cardiac death (SCD) and why is it implicated in obstructive sleep apnea?


Sickle cell disease is the unexpected loss of life caused by a malfunction of the heart. 

It is the leading cause of death in the United States and has resulted in 4.5 deaths annually. Adults in their mid-30s and mid-40s without any known heart risk factors are at risk of developing sickle cell anemia.

Several studies have revealed one of the causes of sickle cell anemia:

obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). People who have not been diagnosed with or treated for obstructive sleep apnea have many episodes of arrhythmia. 

They develop a weak awakening mechanism due to repeated episodes of respiratory arrest. This results in low levels of oxygen in the brain which can become fatal.

Experimental evidence linking obstructive sleep apnea to sudden cardiac death

A five-year study, which examined 10,000 adults referred to sleep disorder clinics. 

The study found that obstructive sleep apnea is the main cause of sickle cell anemia. 

Men were more at risk than women.

Patients with obstructive sleep apnea do not get restful nights, and their nights are not safe. They are most at risk of developing sickle cell disease around midnight. 

The probability of resuscitation of a patient with sudden cardiac arrest at night is low and the chance of seeking appropriate assistance is unlikely.

According to the Wisconsin Sleep Study, which spanned more than 18 years, the number of deaths was higher among people with obstructive sleep apnea. 

Gender, body mass index, age, and drowsiness were not found to be frequent factors in this study. 

The number of episodes of suffocation and respiratory arrest was used as measures of how severe the condition was and how high the risk of sickle cell anemia was.

The results of the study suggest that the fewer pauses in breathing, the greater the chance of survival for people with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. 

The risk of death was higher in people with severe obstructive sleep apnea who had more than 30 episodes.

How does CPAP prevent health problems associated with obstructive sleep apnea?

One of the best ways to tackle serious obstructive sleep apnea is taking preventive measures. 

CPAP is perhaps the leading treatment for obstructive sleep apnea because it reduces nighttime fatigue. 

This is evidenced by decreased stress hormones and blood pressure levels during the day. The resultis minimal risk of developing heart disorders.

Patients who seek to diagnose and treat obstructive sleep apnea effectively reduce their chances of developing this disease. According to a 7-year study examining people using CPAP, no deaths were reported in individuals with obstructive sleep apnea who used CPAP. There was a 7% mortality rate from sickle cell disease among untreated people with OSA.

If you have symptoms of sleep apnea such as loud or restless snoring, choking or gasping for air during sleep, shortness of breath, and multiple nighttime awakenings, you should consult a sleep specialist who may recommend polysomnography to diagnose your condition. Sleep Apnea. If diagnosed, a sleep specialist may recommend CPAP and lifestyle changes to reduce your chance of developing sickle cell anemia and other health problems.

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