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Death from sleep apnea
Death from sleep apnea
This obit in today's Boston Globe caught my attention.

SCANNELL, Paul M. 41 years old, of Arlington, died peacefully of sleep apnea on February 2, 2013. Paul was an Artist - a photographer, writer, animator, web designer, avid music fan and renowned humorist. Graduated U Mass Dartmouth, Hut Master at the Appalachian Mountain Club and had nearly completed his master's degree in multimedia design at Harvard University, where he worked as the Building Services Coordinator at the Graduate School of Design. Beloved son of Marie (Fitzgerald) of Arlington and the late John Scannell. Adored fiancé of Meredith Dill of Somerville. Loving brother of Kevin Scannell of Waltham, Elaine Dedinsky and husband John of Chelmsford, Carol Johnson of Hiram, ME, and Jane Moore and husband Michael of Lake Oswego, OR. Also lovingly survived by aunt and uncle Theresa (Fitzgerald) and husband Albert Finn of Marblehead, nine nieces and nephews, and cousins by the dozen. Funeral from the Keefe Funeral Home, 5 Chestnut St., Rt. 60 (adjacent to St. Agnes Church) ARLINGTON, on Saturday at 8 am, followed by a funeral Mass in St. Camillus Church, Arlington at 9 am. Services will conclude with burial at Cambridge Cemetery. Relatives and friends invited. Visiting hours Friday 4-8 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Paul's name to OutwardBound.org. For obituary, directions or to send a condolence, visit: http://www.keefefuneralhome.com.

Published in The Boston Globe on February 6, 2013

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RE: Death from sleep apnea
It doesn't say if he was treating his sleep apnea, what kind of sleep apnea he had, etc.

Yes, it is possible to die from it. With central apnea, it depends on the cause of the condition. With obstructive, it depends on how well it is being treated.

"They" say that Reggie White (NFL player) died of sleep apnea. My bet is he had complex apnea and died of brain issues, not sleep apnea.

BUT, and this is the important part: much, much, much fewer people die of sleep apnea that is being treated than from the myriad of conditions untreated sleep apnea can cause.

Take a deep breath and count to zen.

RE: Death from sleep apnea
Here is another reason why sleep apnea left untreated can ruin you:
Just 10 years ago, Vassilios Apostolopoulos was lost in an abyss.

Disbarred in 2002 for professional misconduct, he found himself sleeping outside the Canadian Opera Company building on Front St. He lost everything in a haze of depression — his family, his career as a lawyer, his home.

“I was cast adrift. Basically I lived in exile from others and from my own self. I had no explanation to offer to anyone — to my family, my mentors, my teachers, to my friends,” he said.

All of this followed what one doctor described as “one of the most hidden diagnoses” — a sleep disorder masquerading as clinical depression.

From that dark place in 2002, he has since completed a second law degree, begun a PhD program and this year, at 53 years old, had his licence reinstated by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

He began experiencing symptoms in 1990.

“I was a really driven person. All of a sudden I realized, somehow, my output had changed,” he said. The symptoms worsened, and by 1994 he was admitted to a psychiatric ward where he was diagnosed with depression and prescribed medication and therapy.

Just four years later, he stopped the treatment.

Around this time he committed two indiscretions that would later end his career as a lawyer. The first: failure to file a piece of paperwork regarding a mortgage. The second, a more serious transgression: misappropriation of $102,400 from a client.

“By the time my licence was revoked (in 2002), life had taken a catastrophic turn. I had lost my career, my marriage, almost all of my friends and I was estranged from my family,” Apostolopoulos said.

A few days after losing his licence, at his lowest, Apostolopoulos finally reached out.

“I contacted a friend and asked for help,” he recalled. “It was the first time I had ever asked for anything.”

That friend, working closely with his ex-wife, got Apostolopoulos to a doctor who eventually diagnosed him with sleep apnea, a condition whereby he frequently stops breathing while asleep.

“It really is simple, when you think about it — if you sleep lousy, how are you going to feel the next day?” said Dr. Harvey Moldofsky, president of the Centre for Sleep and Chronobiology and professor emeritus at the University of Toronto. “It is probably one of the most hidden diagnoses — especially among the mentally ill.”

The change after treatment with a nighttime breathing apparatus was miraculous. His world came back into focus.

“I listened, after many years, to Mozart’s The Magic Flute and it was once more a moving experience,” Apostolopoulos said.

He immediately re-enrolled in law school in an effort to bring his life back from the brink — this time, with a specialty in medical law. He excelled academically, but life was still challenging and he soon found himself broke and homeless again.

Though he finished his second law degree with distinction, Apostolopoulos couldn’t power up the sleep apnea machine without a home. Again he found himself in the hospital, but this time he emerged with a new strategy to rebuild his life.

“I realized the things I needed — I had to set a stable foundation,” he said. While in the hospital he was accepted to the PhD program at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Since the relapse, Apostolopoulos has been diligently working on his degree and has mended relationships with his family and friends. His reinstatement as a lawyer this year came with the support of his doctor, professors and the man who he wronged initially.

He notes that the struggle isn’t over. The stigma of mental illness still looms large in his life and the lives of others.

“Stigma makes a huge difference every day, in small and big ways,” he said, “because in the end stigma is an institutional impediment — to treatment, to full participation, to inclusion and to the exercise of meaningful citizenship.”
RE: Death from sleep apnea
my best friend (since we were 7 years old) recently admitted to me that he believes his dad may have passed away from the affects of sleep apnea. He certainly thinks he could have benefited from treatment.

I inspired him to join this mouth breather' cult (as I refer to it) and it has done wonders for him. His dad use to fall asleep during conversations, movies and whatnot. He would chew caffeine tablets during the day to stay awake.

I do believe sleep apnea shaves years off your life. I also definitely feel that it contributes to depression and other mental ailments.

It's true about the stigma tho. My cousin's wife posted a pick of him on facebook doing his sleep study and he had a fit.

Thanks for posting this thread.

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RE: Death from sleep apnea
Yeah, I think we've discussed Mr. Apostolopoulos. I cannot for a second believe that his sleep apnea caused him to "misappropriate" that much money. Misappropriate means he stole it and used the money for his own purpose.

Cause you to not think right? Sure, lack of sleep can do that.
Cause you to do something stupid like drive tired? Yep, been there, done that, got the dent.
Cause you to do something stupid like steal over $100K? Um, no.

I don't see a stigma to sleep apnea. It's something we do while asleep, not like we're drunk again dancing on the table. We snore so bad we stop breathing. I would think our family and friends would like to know the machine helps. Your cousin's wife is an idiot. That wasn't stigma, that was rudeness and very inappropriate.

Take a deep breath and count to zen.

RE: Death from sleep apnea
(02-06-2013, 05:48 PM)zeeser Wrote: Beloved son of Marie (Fitzgerald) of Arlington and the late John Scannell.

Wow, they knew the exact cause of death to be sleep apnea within 3 days! It usually takes a week or more for autopsy results unless it comes down to a toxicology report, then it's at least 2 weeks.

What a shame. I have to believe he died from NOT using CPAP.

I wonder what his father died from and how long ago?

If I were his brother I'd be talking to my doctor about a sleep test if he hasn't already.
RE: Death from sleep apnea
(02-06-2013, 05:48 PM)zeeser Wrote: This obit in today's Boston Globe caught my attention.

SCANNELL, Paul M. 41 years old, of Arlington, died peacefully of sleep apnea on February 2, 2013.

Ha ha ha ha holy frack. Nonosign Some of us would dare to proclaim that death is never really peaceful. AND ... unless someone was watching him fail to take his last gasp of air, then it's not for certain that he was gasping for a breath just like what happens to me now and then.

Quote:Paul was an Artist - a photographer, writer, animator, web designer, avid music fan and renowned humorist.

It all adds to over exerting himself and being excessively tired. Add that to bouts of apnea and the poor guy must have been totally drained.

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RE: Death from sleep apnea
Here in the US, obituaries are usually paid notices. The reason for death is usually going to be whatever the family member paying the bills says it is. Obituaries are often printed long before a death certificate is issued.

It gripes me to see the newspapers being another one of the vultures in our society that feeds upon the misery of the family of the dead.
Get the free OSCAR CPAP software here.
Useful links.
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If it's midnight and a DME tells you it's dark outside, go and check it yourself.
RE: Death from sleep apnea
This is good incentive to stay on the therapy though.
As they say: "There is nothing like the sight of the gallows to clarify one's thoughts."

RE: Death from sleep apnea
Sorry guys, but OSA is NOT a cause of death. It is a contributing factor to the cause of death, yes, but it is NOT a cause of death. For instance, OSA will cause SpO2 to plummet = BP skyrockets. If one is prone to clots or has plaque building it can break off a piece of plaque or a clot and, depending on where the clot comes to rest, can kill. A coronary artery will cause a heart attack (myocardial infarction); coming to rest in the brain or in the carotid artery, it will kill the brain and thence the rest of the body. It is a crap shoot. OSA is also a cause for Atrial Fibrillation which will do the same as above but in a different manner. It is, unfortunately, much easier to say that death was due to OSA (reporters are not known to be rocket scientists, otherwise, well..... they would be rocket scientists). OSA is a causitive agent in hypertension and a host of other maladies as well. It is well worth treating to be sure and OSA DOES KILL; just not directly.

If you have OSA, treated or otherwise, you are well advised to have the "Presidential" physical, including advanced heart monitor for a couple of weeks to detect arrhythmias; automatic BP metering for 48 hours to detect fluctuating hypertension; etc.

I myself have both hypertension and aFib as a result of OSA, etc. My hypertension is controlled by medications, as is my aFib. Both are very closely monitored. The OSA is poo-pood by many GP's and "3 alarm fire rated" by sleep clinics, so one needs to get educated and advocate for themselves. In my case that meant determining that my SpO2 (blood oxygen level roughly) plummeted when I entered REM sleep (which I did not do at the sleep clinic probably due to strange surroundings, etc.). The answer? I put together my OSA reports from my ResMed S9 Auto and a CMS50EW wireless recording pulse oximeter.... learned what the issue was and determined on my own that the immediate solution was simply to add 4 - 5 L/m of Oxygen from an oxygen concentrator into the airflow to increase the oxygen being taken in during the night. Presto, my SpO2 was in the 95%+ range and I slept much better and my BP was much better through the night.

The bottom line is that you take what you read with a grain of salt and check the sources of the information. You educate yourself. THEN you contemplate it all and you ADVOCATE for yourself.

OSA is not an issue for me any longer and I do not travel without my gear; not even for one night. It ALL comes with. No biggie.

Does sleep apnea kill? Nope it does not. At least not of and by itself. It is all the side-effects of OSA that will kill you, sure as shootin'. So please, once you read this, start educating yourself and get fixed. And start taking a baby aspirin every day (80mg coated), some high quality fish oil too. It just might add 20 years or more to your life (unless you are already 98 years old).

Educate, Advocate, Contemplate.
Herein lies personal opinion, no professional advice, which ALL are well advised to seek.

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