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Can Sleep Apnea Kill You?

June 20, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — sleepsnoringtmj @ 8:07 pm
Man suffering heart attack, possibly due to untreated sleep apnea

Often, sleep apnea in Fort Worth is dismissed as nothing more than an annoyance. Many people even say, “I’m tired, but I have other things to worry about.” Unfortunately, such an attitude could prove deadly. Let’s talk about a few ways in which untreated sleep apnea may lead to fatal circumstances. We’ll also touch on how proper treatment has the potential to be life-saving.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives each year. While there are many possible contributing factors to heart disease, a big one is poor-quality sleep. In fact, there is a strong correlation between untreated obstructive sleep apnea and various heart conditions, including heart attack and hypertension.

It is believed that a heart attack, largely brought on by untreated sleep apnea, led to the passing of beloved actress Carrie Fisher. In fact, sleep apnea was officially listed as one of the primary causes of her death.

Other Illnesses Connected to Sleep Apnea

Heart disease is not the only serious condition that is associated with sleep apnea. Here are a few sobering facts to keep in mind:

  • Sleep apnea is linked to type 2 diabetes. Prediabetics who struggle with poor-quality sleep are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and diabetics with sleep apnea tend to struggle to manage their disease.
  • Sleep disordered breathing increases the risk of death. A study called the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort found that severe sleep apnea is “significantly associated with a 3-fold increased all-cause mortality risk.”
  • Sleep apnea is linked to a heightened risk of stroke. It can also slow down recovery after a stroke.

Accidental Death

Sleep apnea can do more than just increase your risk of various health conditions. According to AAA, drowsy driving is responsible for roughly 9.5% of motor vehicle accidents, and data from the National Safety Council states that more than 1,500 people die from drowsy driving crashes each year. Of course, those statistics might actually be higher in reality; many individuals who were tired when they were involved in a crash may not want to admit that they were sleepy while behind the while.

While we do not know how many drowsy driving accidents directly result from untreated sleep apnea, it is reasonable to say that a significant portion of them are related to this sleep disorder.

Life-Saving Treatment

Fortunately, sleep apnea is not difficult to treat for most people. With something as simple as an oral appliance from a dentist, you can improve your nighttime breathing and greatly reduce all of the risks associated with sleep apnea. Treatment could save your life!

Meet the Practice

Dr. Mitch Conditt is a dentist who focuses primarily on treating obstructive sleep apnea via oral appliance therapy. He has had to cope with this condition himself, so he has deep empathy for his patients. To learn more about him and how our team may be able to provide you with life-saving treatment,contact us at 817-527-8500.

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