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Sleep apnea increases your risk of death

Sleep apnea has been shown to be an independent risk for dying, especially from cardiovascular disease. Two new studies published in the journal Sleep have shown that untreated obstructive sleep apnea can result in death.

Sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a reduction in breathing or a stop in airflow during sleep. It can lead to a decrease in blood oxygen saturation, with oxygen levels falling by 40% or more in severe cases. Sleep apnea has been strongly linked to obesity.

The sleep disorder and breathing study

The main study published was part of an 18 year study of 1,522 participants in the ongoing Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study.

The study found that people with severe sleep apnea had three times the risk of dying due to any cause compared with people who did not have sleep apnea.

The second study in Sleep also found that moderate-to-severe sleep apnea was an independent risk factor for dying.

Researchers comments

Lead researcher Terry Young professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said, “I was surprised by the strength of the risk. This strong association between sleep apnea and increased risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular risk was striking.”


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