The simple answer to this question is yes, sleep apnea can and does cause death in many different ways.
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder. A person whilst asleep will repeatedly stop breathing. To stop a person suffocating and dying in their sleep, the brain is forced to remove a person from deep sleep to start them breathing again.
In the short term, a person suffering with sleep apnea will suffer the inevitable side effects of sleep depravation such as tiredness, irritability, mood changes, loss of concentration and maybe even depression. The short term physical effects of a lack of sleep can be the cause of many deaths.
Every year thousands of deaths are the result of road accidents, or accidents within the work place. Most of these accidents are down to momentary lapses of concentration within high risk environments. Sleep apnea diminishes a person’s ability to judge and concentrate immensely putting the individual at a much greater risk of becoming another accident statistic.
The long term effects of sleep apnea are serious health issues which invariably lead to death, or hugely diminish a person’s quality of life. The biggest health issue sleep apnea causes is coronary trouble or out right failure. By been persistently starved of oxygen the heart can become damaged and diseased. In the case of Obstructive Sleep Apnea where a person continues trying to breath during sleep but can’t due to an obstruction, the heart attempts to work the lungs harder to draw a breath, thus putting repeated strain on the heart. Over time this can cause irregular heart beats, and increased susceptibility to right sided heart failure, strokes or heart attacks.
Other coronary related disorders stemming from sleep apnea is high blood pressure, and arterial disease.
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