Sleep apnea raises death risk 46 percent: study

Reaction score
This sounds scary!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Severe sleep apnea raises the risk of dying early by 46 percent, U.S. researchers reported Monday, but said people with milder sleep-breathing problems do not share that risk.

They said people with severe breathing disorders during sleep were more likely to die from a variety of causes than similar people without such sleep disorders. The risks are most obvious in men aged 40 to 70, Naresh Punjabi of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and colleagues found.

Sleep apnea is caused by a collapse of the upper airway during sleep. Strong snoring can be a symptom but what makes apnea different are numerous brief interruptions in breathing.

Sleep apnea is closely linked with obesity, high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke, but researchers have not been able to clearly quantify how much more likely it makes a person to die.

Punjabi's team studied 6,400 men and women for an average of eight years. Those who started with major sleep apnea were 46 percent more likely to die from any cause, regardless of age, sex, race, weight or smoking, they reported in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine.

Men aged 40 to 70 with severe sleep-disordered breathing were twice as likely to die from any cause as healthy men the same age, they reported in the study -- available online at

"Among men, 42.9 percent did not have sleep-disordered breathing, 33.2 percent had mild disease, 15.7 percent had moderate disease, and 8.2 percent had severe disease," they wrote.

They said about 25 percent of the women had mild sleep apnea, 8 percent had moderate disease and 3 percent had severely disordered breathing.

The researchers, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, said people with milder sleep-breathing disorders were not more likely to die early.

The NHLBI estimates 12 million adult Americans have sleep apnea, but most are not diagnosed or treated. The National Sleep Foundation puts the number at 18 million.

"In severe sleep apnea a patient's airway is blocked while the patient suffers for 20 to 30 seconds and wakes up.

"When it becomes this frequent -- 30 times per hour -- about every two minutes it is severe sleep apnea and can become a problem," said Dr. David Rapoport of New York University, who worked on the study.

"The best treatment for sleep apnea is weight loss. However, the most successful treatment can be a nasal CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask that applies pressure to help keep the airways of a patient open while they sleep, allowing normal breathing," he added in a statement.

"Another possible helpful treatment is surgery. That may include tonsil removal," said Rapoport. "A mouth guard that pulls a patient's mouth forward is another option."(I wrote about these in another posting)

A small Canadian company, Victhom Human Bionics Inc., has filed a patent on a new device to detect sleep apnea, which must usually be diagnosed in a sleep lab and Medtronic Inc. makes sleep apnea devices.
Last edited:


Too Much Experience with Epilepsy
Reaction score
I have had Chronic Obstructive Sleep Apnia for the past 3 years.
After my sleep disorders test the Dr. showed me the EEG from one night, I would stop breathing up to 50 times/hour and had 3 seizures and that I was waking up "post ictal" (moody and spaced out)
I have recently purchased a CPAP machine which provides constant air pressure and have noticed a vast improvement.
No more snoring (the whole family sleeps better now), more energy when I wake up, better REM sleep, improved memory (less short term memory loss), and most of all ~ NO MORE NIGHT SEIZURES.
Now maybe my Neurologist can reduce my meds.
I'm surprised that finally after 28 years I finally get an answer.



Reaction score
I had

sleep apnea while I was on Depakote and Lamictal combined..........because I gained well over 100 pounds, and got up to over 350 pounds. Which, for a person my size just doesn't cut it.

Now that I've dropped that extra weight plus another 70 plus pounds thanks to being a celiac patient, I no longer have sleep apnea. I do recall the complaints about the snoring, though. And yes, I did have several sleep tests which showed the apnea....but I would rip the masks off in my sleep. So, the weight HAD to come off. Thus, one of several reasons to take me off Depakote and Lamictal at the same time.......