Sleep Apnea Death Risk: Increased Health Risks Associated With Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea has long been the focus of study. One reason for this attention comes from the fact that the disorder is linked to numerous other conditions. For example, commonly known health risks tied to sleep apnea include heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. However, the latest research indicates that the health risks associated with sleep apnea include stroke and cancer. These studies suggest something even more troubling: A sleep apnea death risk. In fact, the evidence increasingly suggests that death rates are considerably higher when sleep apnea is involved.

When it comes to health and quality of life, sleep is fundamental. For, as Macbeth says, it is “Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care.” Sleep apnea not only interrupts this vital function, where mind and body are healed, but it can be a catalyst for developing other serious conditions. Moreover, sleep apnea affects a sizable number of the population. Men seem to develop the condition more often than women, with 7% of the male population presenting with sleep apnea. Unfortunately, women are not that far behind, with 5% reporting as having sleep apnea.

After conducting a 20-year study, researchers found that mortality rates are dramatically increased when a person has sleep apnea. The rates were the highest when sleep apnea was moderate to severe. Strokes, for example, are nearly 4 times more likely to happen to a person suffering from sleep apnea, than for those who do not have the condition. The risk of cancer was also more likely in patients with sleep apnea. In fact, the study showed that a person with sleep apnea was 3 times more likely to develop cancer. Moreover, based on this study, the chances of a person with sleep apnea dying from a stroke or cancer is approximately 3 times higher–compared to someone who has a stroke or cancer but does not have sleep apnea!

Obviously, a sleep apnea death risk is not something to be taken lightly. However, the good news is that there are treatments for sleep apnea. Of course, researchers are always working to develop better alternatives to what is available, but current therapies are quite effective for reducing risks and slowing the progression of sleep apnea. Getting treatment for sleep apnea, means giving oneself a better chance of avoiding some of the risks associated with it.