Sleep Apnea Tied to a Nearly Double Risk of Sudden Death
A study published in BMJ Open Respiratory Research by Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey indicated that obstructive sleep apnea patients have a considerably higher chance of dying unexpectedly than the general population.
A comprehensive assessment of the literature by Penn State researchers found 22 studies concentrating on obstructive sleep apnea, cardiac death, and sudden death. The researchers used meta-analysis to examine the combined data from these investigations.
A total of over 42,000 people globally were included in the quantitative analysis. The average participants’ age was 62, and 64% of them were men.
According to the meta-analysis, those with obstructive sleep apnea are roughly twice as likely to die suddenly as people who do not have the sleep disorder.
The study also discovered that obstructive sleep apnea was linked to an approximately twofold greater risk of cardiovascular death as people became older.
We know that sleep apnea is most commonly treated with CPAP machines. However, untreated sleep apnea patients are more prone to heart disease, high blood pressure, and other health problems, according to Dr. Ryan Soose, director of the UPMC Sleep Division.
He adds that the risk of sudden death reported in this study is eye-opening and underscores the importance of early diagnosis and treatment.
The neurological system’s influence on the human sleep cycle could explain the link between sleep apnea and an increased risk of sudden death.
The central nervous system might be over-aroused to enhance airflow because of the occasional lack of oxygen that sleep apnea patients face. As a result, both the individual’s systolic and diastolic blood pressure may rise.
Furthermore, a sleep apnea patient will undergo oxidative stress, leading to an antioxidant imbalance in the body. That can harm cells and hasten the aging process, resulting in many health issues over time.
However, because the analysis included 22 different studies, variables other than obstructive sleep apnea could have influenced the results.
Furthermore, although the meta-analysis included studies from North America, Australia, Europe, Asia, and South America, no studies from Africa were included. More research is needed to see if the findings of this study extend to African people.