Can Untreated Sleep Apnea Be Fatal?

February 3, 2023
Man with heart problem, possibly due to untreated sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that causes a person to stop breathing multiple times a night. At first, it might not seem like a big deal. In fact, many people dismiss it as a mere annoyance that makes them feel tired day after day. However, it is a big deal. Untreated sleep apnea can even be fatal in some circumstances! This blog post discusses why that is the case and how you may be able to extend your life.

Sleep Apnea and Health Complications

Research indicates that individuals with sleep apnea are at a heightened risk of sudden cardiac death during sleep. This occurs when the heart abruptly stops working, seemingly without warning.

Fortunately, sudden cardiac death is relatively rare. However, sleep apnea comes with other health risks that can increase the chances of an early passing. For example, it is strongly associated with a heightened risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. It can also make type 2 diabetes more difficult to control, as well as play a possible role in its development.

Such risks are often attributed to the fact that sleep apnea causes a drop in a person’s blood oxygen levels. It also increases the overall burden of stress and inflammation on the body.

Sleep Apnea and Increased Accident Risk

Sleep apnea interferes with an individual’s ability to get rejuvenating rest. Hence, their concentration and reflexes may suffer as a result. In fact, research published in 2018 found that severe sleep apnea is associated with a 123% increase in the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash.

Tens of thousands of people in the U.S. die each year because they are involved in a collision. While it is impossible to say how many of those deaths are attributable to drowsy driving or sleep apnea, it is safe to say that getting behind the wheel while tired is potentially fatal.

What Can You Do?

The above information may seem a little scary, but there is good news. Obstructive sleep apnea is highly treatable!

If you are frequently tired or snore loudly, schedule a sleep test. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, you can begin to compare your treatment options. Many people find that a custom oral sleep appliance from a dentist is the most comfortable way to address their condition. A sleep appliance is a small device that looks like a mouthguard. It gently repositions the jaw during sleep to allow for uninterrupted breathing.

Untreated sleep apnea could kill you! Fortunately, you can reduce your risk of an untimely death by seeking treatment as soon as possible.

Meet Dr. Mogell

Dr. Kenneth Mogell is double-board certified in dental sleep medicine. For over a decade, he has helped patients in Boca Raton and the surrounding communities to find freedom from the hassles and risks of untreated sleep apnea. To learn more about how he and our team may be able to serve you, contact us at 561-353-5252.