Ask the Sleep Team: Can Sleep Apnea Really Be Deadly?
I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, but I hate my CPAP machine. I just can’t use it! I couldn’t even get through the first week without wanting to shove it in the closet. My husband is concerned and keeps telling me that neglecting my treatment could have serious consequences. Can sleep apnea really be deadly? Am I really in danger if I choose not to use my CPAP?
Sleep Team’s Answer:
Untreated sleep apnea can have detrimental, and yes–fatal–consequences. Not only is it incredibly taxing on your health, and can contribute to much higher risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and more, but it can also cause depression and other mental health issues. As if that weren’t scary enough, untreated sleep apnea is responsible for thousands of motor vehicle deaths and occupational accidents and fatalities every single year. If you’ve been diagnosed and you cannot or will not tolerate CPAP therapy, you need to consult with a provider about alternative treatment options. Oral appliance therapy is incredibly effective for treating mild-to-moderate sleep apnea, and is far better than no treatment at all for severe sleep apnea. Many patients find that oral appliance therapy is far easy to tolerate than CPAP therapy. Unfortunately, not many people know that it is an option.