Sleep Apnea Could Increase Odds of Sudden Death

August 15, 2021
Avatar for Kelley MingusKelley Mingus

Sudden death. It sounds terrifying because it is terrifying. But unfortunately, nobody can predict when it will occur. But a new study from Penn State University has now found that untreated sleep apnea can in fact double your risk of sudden death. While this is bad news for those with untreated sleep apnea, it can be a helpful wake-up call that could improve your odds of preventing sudden death, and extend your life.

This is because sleep apnea can cause many cardiovascular problems, including arterial hardening, and the imbalance of antioxidants in the body. Both of these conditions can speed up your body’s natural aging process.

For those who don’t know, sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects over 30 percent of adult men and nearly 20 percent of adult women. It occurs when the airway becomes obstructed during sleeping, causing the affected person to struggle to breathe, snore, and wake repeatedly throughout the night.

Sleep apnea doesn’t just affect your sleep, either. It has been shown to cause or contribute to cognitive impairment, depression, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, stroke, and even some cancers.

The Penn State study examined data from 22 studies covering 42,000 patients across the globe. It found that while sleep apnea very well may increase your odds of sudden death, treating sleep apnea can help reduce those odds.

To researchers, the solution is clear: treat sleep apnea as you would any other dangerous medical condition. This includes screening for both sleep apnea and for cardiovascular problems like arterial hardening and antioxidant imbalance.

For many, using a machine known as a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is the gold standard for treating sleep apnea. A CPAP machine uses forced air to push the airway open as you sleep, making it easier to breathe. Unfortunately, many people do not like CPAP therapy, both because the mask can be awkward and because the machinery can be complicated.

For those people, Dr. Mingus offers a solution: mandibular orthotic devices which are custom fit to the mouth. These devices position the jaw in such a way that the airway is propped open manually, allowing the wearer to breathe comfortably and naturally.

To learn more about mandibular sleep devices, contact Dr. Mingus today and schedule a consultation.