Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder, with signs such as snoring commonly found in men who are above 40 years of age (though it may occur at any age) with high risk of sleep apnea death in severe cases. Moderate to severe sleep apnea puts men at a 46% risk of death due to the associated difficulty in breathing. Those who have heart diseases are at a higher risk of sleep apnea death due to inherent difficulty in breathing which happens most commonly in the night.
So what causes sleep apnea death? Sleep apnea. From several studies it has been shown that severe sleep apnea raises the risk of car crash and accidents. Other medical conditions it may lead to are heart diseases, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and pregnancy complications.
Sufferers of sleep apnea has been indicated to be at a higher risk of being involved in life-threatening car wrecks accidents (including head-on collision and collision with pedestrians and cyclists).
From accident statistics across the USA, about 80% of all cases are linked to sleep apnea patients.
According to WebMD
“It didn’t matter how severe your sleep apnea was. We found that you still have the same increased risk even if you have mild sleep apnea”
Sleep disruptions take place when your brain is responding to the low oxygen levels in the blood. Sleep apnea causes fatigue and daytime sleepiness in those who are affected.
There are two different types of sleep apnea namely: central, complex or mixed and obstructive sleep apnea (the most common form of sleep apnea). Many individuals may not be aware that they have sleep apnea so, being healthy does not always means you don’t have it.
Sleep apnea causes the sufferer to wake up as many as 30 times in the night. Repetitive or severely obstructed sleep may put the body in a ‘flight or fight’ position due to dips and peak in adrenalin hormone secretion.
What causes sleep apnea?
Risk factors and causes of sleep apnea includes the following:
1. Narrowing of the throat
Narrowing of the throat which is very common during sleep. This may lead to dips in blood oxygen-levels which may affect the brain severely, by virtue of this, fainting spells may result as well as sleep disruptions and difficulty making a complete breathing cycle.
2. Another example of the causes of sleep apnea is nasal polyp.
This is an outgrowth on the nasal epithelium, which may cause nasal congestion. This is common in people with deviated septum.
This has been linked with sleep apnea death as it increases the risk of nasal congestion and snoring during sleep in the night.
4. Inner neck structures
Unusual inner neck structures such as narrow airways, enlarged tonsils, or tongue and small lower jaw all may contribute to having sleep apnea.
5. Large neck
Those who have large neck especially men with collar sizes bigger than 43cm in length are at a higher risk of developing sleep apnea.
Those who are obese or have overweight are at a higher risk of having difficulty breathing, in advance cases of breathing problem, sleep apnea death may occur.
7. Use of drugs
Another runner up in the causes of sleep apnea is drugs with tranquilizing effects. This may present a partial sleep disturbance but it will resolve over time.
Smoking is another one of causes of lungs infection and breathing problems. One of the presenting symptoms that may arise from age long lung infections and disorders is sleep apnea which may lead to sleep apnea death.