Is my husband going to die from sleep apnea?

by Tracy
(Oklahoma)

My husband (56 years old) was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea about five years ago.

He tries to use his CPAP but has yet to make it an entire night with it on, he complains that it blows him up and gives him severe abdominal pain.

He ask the dr. to turn the machine down but they refuse saying it would not be therapeutic. He is not overweight at all; he is slightly underweight.

He had a stroke a year and a half ago.He had no deficiencies after his stroke. After the stroke he had carotid artery neck surgery. He has high blood pressure and is on medicine. The medicine has recently caused his blood pressure to fluctuate to extremes.(to low)

He had a grand mal seizure, first one in his life, about two weeks ago. He is now extremely fatigued. He complains of dizziness. I and people at his work have noticed his memory is not as good.

He repeats himself a lot and thinks slower than he use to, especially if he is tired. He has droopy eyelids and has aged a lot in the last two years. We have two young children and I am extremely worried about him. Can sleep apnea have caused the stroke and seizure?

Answer


A lot of patients ask if they can die from sleep apnea syndrome. The answer is not so simple, because rarely a person dies in sleep when his breathing stops for a long period of time.

In general, the brain will react when you stop breathing in sleep. However, a patient with sleep apnea can die from the side effects of sleep deprivation and low oxygen levels.

I think you already read in side effects page that stroke and heart attacks are very common in patients with severe sleep apnea.

If apnea was detected sooner, many of us would not develop hypertension, GERD, massive weight gain and Type 2 diabetes...the heart damage, the stroke...the bad stuff.

The problem in your husband's case is that he doesn't tolerate the CPAP mask. Many patients have this problem, and it can be fixed through education (knowing what type of mask to use regarding the cause of sleep apnea).

Here are some links that can help your husband to cope with a CPAP mask:
It seems that without a proper CPAP treatment, your husband will continue to have health problems.

The biggest risk of stroke and heart attacks in sleep apnea patients is in the early morning hours (3-5 am). If most patients only wear their CPAP for 4-4 1/2 hours, haven't most patients abandoned their CPAP machines before the most dangerous part of the night for heart attacks and strokes?

I bet they do...

So the question for your husband will be... Is he wearing his CPAP in the high risk early morning hours?

Another important question should be if you know the cause of his sleep apnea. Also, your husband has obstructive or central sleep apnea?

These are important questions. The most effective treatment (100% effective) for obstructive apnea is tracheostomy, but is not helpful for central apnea.

Seizures or headaches can also be caused by sleep apnea.

I'm also underweight but I have a milder case of sleep apnea. In my situation, I have a large tongue which obstructs the airway when I sleep on my back.

If your husband is underweight and has obstructive sleep apnea, he might have deviated septum, big tonsils or adenoids, or other causes. Please, find out the causes as soon as possible. I suggest an airway evaluation with fiberoptic nasopharyngoscopy and lateral cephalometric radiography.

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide


Comments for Is my husband going to die from sleep apnea?

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May 03, 2011
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Blocked nasal passages
by: Anonymous

I have 90% blockage in my right nostril and about 50% blockage in my left,depriving my brain of oxygen, could this be the cause of my sleep apena?

May 04, 2011
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it could be...
by: Apnea

It's possible to have deviated septum, which is one of the causes for sleep apnea. Speak with your doctor about your problem and check what type of blockage you have in your nose.

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