Yes, you can die from snoring. Snoring caused by severe sleep apnea has several complications that bring health risks and even death.
The estimated death in the United States with sleep apnea as a complicating factor is estimated to be around 38,000 people according to the American Sleep Apnea Association.
It is important to know though that not all people who snore have sleep apnea syndrome. Your bed partner can help observe your snoring habits to see if it becomes alarming.
People with sleep apnea also exhibit symptoms that could be an indicator of sleep breathing disorder.
Let’s go ahead and know more about how you can die from snoring and the dangers of sleep apnea as a sleeping disorder so that you can be vigilant when it comes to looking after your health.
About Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition where a person suddenly stops breathing. Sleep apnea is classified into two types: central and obstructive.
Central sleep apnea happens when the brain cannot send signals to the muscles that control breathing.
On the other hand, obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage in the airway, usually when the throat muscles relax. This blockage will cause snoring and gasping for air while asleep. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to death.
How Sleep Apnea Leads to Death
Sleep apnea can cause several complications which could lead to death. The Sleep Heart Health Study studies complications related to sleep apnea. Some of these complications include:
High Blood Pressure
When you stop breathing because of obstructive sleep apnea episodes, your body releases stress hormones that cause high blood pressure.
With the possibility of low blood oxygen levels, because you stop breathing, the brain sends signals to increase your heart rate or blood pressure to increase and deliver enough oxygen to tissues.
Several cardiovascular problems can arise as a result of sleep apnea. The lack of oxygen in the blood can damage the lining of your arteries. The hardening of your arteries along with high blood pressure can lead to the following risk and health consequences:
- Heart Failure – Heart failure is a condition wherein the heart cannot pump blood throughout the body efficiently. This can be caused by sleep apnea because of the continuous strain placed on your heart to pump blood when you stop breathing.
- Heart Attack from Coronary Heart Disease- Coronary heart disease is the buildup of plaque in your coronary arteries. A heart attack is brought about when the blood flow to your heart becomes blocked. This blockage can be caused by a clot that forms in one of the coronary arteries. The risk for heart attacks is increased five times in men and three times in women who have sleep apnea.
- Stroke – Sleep apnea can also cause strokes. When you stop breathing, the oxygen level in your blood decreases. This can cause damage to your brain cells and lead to a stroke.
- Atrial Fibrillation – Atrial Fibrillation is a type of irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, and heart failure.
- Sudden Cardiac Death – Sudden cardiac death is the sudden, unexpected death of a person caused by a change in heart rhythm.
Sleep apnea can also lead to diabetes.
Studies have shown that people with sleep apnea have a higher risk of developing diabetes. The reason behind this is still unknown but it is speculated that the lack of oxygen in the blood or the stress hormones can damage the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
Sleep apnea can also lead to liver damage.
The research is still ongoing but it is speculated that the hormones released when you stop breathing can damage the liver cells. This will then lead to fatty liver disease and cirrhosis.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
You may experience the following symptoms if you have sleep apnea:
- Sleep gasping
- Heavy snoring
- Poor sleep
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Headaches upon waking up
- Daytime fatigue
- Poor memory
- Mental Health Issues
Treating Sleep Apnea
Because of the serious health problems brought about by sleep apnea, there are several treatments for this sleep disorder as follows:
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Mask (CPAP Mask)
A CPAP mask is a mask that you wear during sleep. It is connected to a machine that provides a gentle stream of air that helps keep your airway open.
Dental devices are also one of the treatment options that you can use to treat sleep apnea. These devices help to keep your tongue and soft palate in place to prevent them from blocking your airway.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat sleep apnea. The type of surgery will depend on the cause of your sleep apnea.
If you are obese, losing weight can help to reduce the severity of your sleep apnea. Increased physical activity, taking weight loss supplements, and having a healthy lifestyle can contribute to weight loss.
Sleep Medicine for Sleep Apnea
There is sleep medicine for sleep apnea that can help you get a good night’s sleep. These medicines relax the muscles in your airway and help to keep it open. Consult your family doctor to know more about sleep medicines.
Sleep Apnea Testing
There are also sleep apnea testing centers that can help you diagnose sleep apnea where a sleep specialist will conduct a series of tests to determine if you have sleep apnea.
The most common test used to diagnose sleep apnea is the polysomnogram. This test will measure your brain activity, heart rate, and breathing during sleep.
Snoring can be bad for your health and you can die from snoring if it is caused by sleep apnea. If you think you might have sleep apnea, see your doctor. Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that should be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional.
Can You Die From Snoring FAQs
Can snoring shorten your life?
Snoring when caused by sleep apnea can shorten your life due to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and other health problems.
Can snoring suffocate you?
Yes, there is a possibility. Snoring caused by obstructive sleep apnea results in stopped breathing and can result in choking that can suffocate.
What are the chances of dying from sleep apnea?
One sleep study showed that 19% of 63 participants with severe sleep apnea died.
How much does it cost for surgery to stop snoring?
The estimated cost if you have insurance is from several hundred to several thousand dollars. If you don’t have insurance it can cost up to $10,000.