A new study reiterates common medical knowledge that sleep apnea increases your risk of death. The study in the Journal Sleep monitored 1,522 people, aged 30 to 60, over an 18-year time period and found that the worse the “sleep disordered breathing,” as they call it, the higher the risk. The worst breathers had an increased risk of 3.8 times those with no problems breathing while asleep.
The authors took into consideration age, sex and weights of the participants. Increased risk of cardiovascular-related deaths was a major contributing factor for the increase in death. It did not matter if the participants complained of daytime drowsiness. The causative factor was whether the person was stopping his/her breathing for a few seconds anywhere from five to more that 30 times a minute. This led to a drop in the blood oxygen level.
If sleep apnea is potentially deadly, then how do you know if you have it, and is current treatment effective?
The most common signs and symptoms are listed under our sleep lab video. If you have a sleep partner, he/she might give you insight into your nighttime breathing habits.
Since I have sleep apnea, I am particularly interested in how to decrease the increased risk of death. This study gave only limited information in that regard. They did find that when they took anyone who had tried CPAP out of the group the risk of death went from an increased risk of 3.0 to 3.8 suggesting CPAP helped.
There has been no long term study, however, to compare the death risk of those who have sleep apnea, and have been treated with CPAP or oral devices, to those who have not. Nor has there been a study to compare a treatment group to a baseline group without sleep apnea. Until that is done, all is just educated speculation.
I, for one, will continue my CPAP. It makes me feel better. I think it will make me live longer.
Do you have the symptoms; do you know anyone who does? What are they doing for it? Let’s discuss.
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Tags: sleep apnea and health