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Can a Person Die from Sleep Apnea?

Ask a Doctor

My husband has sleep apnea. The snoring and his irritability in the morning from lack of sleep are bad enough. Even worse, he rarely wears his CPAP machine. I’m starting to worry about his overall health. How dangerous is sleep apnea? Can a person die from sleep apnea?

Doctor’s Response

Sleep apnea can be dangerous, and even deadly. At a minimum, sleep apnea disrupts sleep so people are usually tired and less alert. This can result in car accidents and other accidents.

In addition, if sleep apnea is not treated, patients have an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms, or stroke.

One study found that people with untreated sleep apnea have three times greater of a risk of premature death. Cardiac events such as heart attacks are more likely to be fatal in people with sleep apnea.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2019
References


American Sleep Apnea Association . Yes, you can die from sleep apnea. Carrie Fisher did. 21 June 2017. 30 December 2018 .

The doctors and editors at UpToDate. Patient education: Sleep apnea (The Basics). 2018. 30 December 2018 .
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