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Just How Deadly is Untreated Sleep Apnea really ?
I will add that people with untreated OSA besides 'dying in their sleep', will also die at a much earlier age.

The thing is, It's not whether or not you have "OSA" - but to what degree it is. It also does not stay the same. If you were tested and found to have a "mild degree of OSA" and you and/or your Doctor decided against treatment at that time, that is not to say that your OSA will not change due to age, weight, other medical issues, etc... It will never, ever go away, or get better on it's own.

I have lost close to 100 pounds (so far), and it changed my OSA not one wit. It did not even lower my pressure. I suppose there can be rare exceptions, but many people think that simply by losing weight their OSA will go away - they are wrong~!

It is very sad, and I do not mean to come across as cynical - but, DMEs, and most/many doctors only care about 'compliance'. Compliance does not equal good care, or good numbers. Someone must be responsible enough to read your numbers on an *ongoing* basis, and make sure that your AHI and leak rates stay within reason - compliance alone will not be enough - it's a start to be sure, and 100% compliance is the goal here.

We must all remember, there is no cure, only treatment, and treatment needs to be for life.

An interesting sidenote? My wife, after her sleep study was found to be only borderline, untreated AHI of '4'. She chose to get a CPAP anyway, and after some 2+ years on it has found the habit of CPAP has improved her sleep - both in getting to sleep, and staying asleep.
*I* am not a DOCTOR or any type of Health Care Professional.  My thoughts/suggestions/ideas are strictly only my opinions.

"Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you. Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your Soul, the other for your Freedom."
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I can say personally, I was on the road to having it shave at least 30 or so years off my life, unless I treated it.

I'm 30, I eat completely healthy, I exercise, etc... I basically do whatever is necessary for physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Despite this, all my medical tests showed I was essentially slowly rotting away internally. My liver was not working correctly, my glucose tolerance was becoming increasingly impaired, my lipid profile was tragic, etc... My doctors were completely stumped.

I researched like crazy to find an answer, and then found that nearly all the symptoms I had could be explained by sleep apnea, so I found a sleep specialist and he did a study. Honestly, besides a few women I'd shared a bed with that said I snored, I figured the study would be negative.

Man, was I wrong. My AHI was 50. I got setup with an APAP, screwed around with the settings to get them right. AHI is now down to ~3. All my recently medical tests show it is working. My glucose is back to normal, my liver is slowly healing, and my lipids are normalizing. Starting xPAP therapy is the only thing I've changed, so it can truly be the only explanation for the simultaneous improvement of several biomarkers for health.

N = 1, but I'm completely convinced.
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too many close calls for me driving in the past, sleep every night with it
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I can only give a short glimpse of the difference in untreated and treated OSA. I am border line sever with my O2 dropping into the low 60 range for a good deal of the night. Ive been on a Apap less than 15 days.

For a year now ive been walking a mile a day per cardiologist orders. And on three BP meds which did not control my BP only lowered it to not having a stroke level most of the time.

Within 3 nights on the machine instead of dragging back up the hill from my walk panting for air and a pulse over 100 bpm which took forever to go back down into the high 80 to 90 range, I was and still am doing the same walk without getting winded, never breaking a sweat, and a pulse that never rises over 75 while walking and drops into the high 40 to low 50s range in about three minutes of sitting down from my walk. My Bp on one med at half dose of that one is controlled at a high normal level of about 140ish over mid 80s.

I know my name when I wake up and I can get up right at waking instead of 2 hours later trying to clear the fog out of my head to function.

My Afib and PVCs are gone. Im not a fortune teller but I and my heart doctor pretty much are in agreement I would have either just blown a stroke, or died in my sleep in a couple of years had my apnea not been diagnosed and treated.

OSA isnt anything to mess with or put off. I slept alone mostly because of being a long haul trucker for 21 years but when I was home my wife and kids would carry on about my snoring and gasping while asleep but I figured I was just exhausted and blew it off. Didnt know what sleep apnea was honestly. Probably had it for a very long time which likely caused all my heart related problems for years that are either gone or rapidly going away in less than 15 days of treatment.

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I was told by my sleep specialist that had I continued without an APAP machine I would have died in my sleep because the recorded breathing stoppages were just so long. Apart from what maladies have been mentioned earlier the very real risk with very bad apnoea (sorry, I use the Australian/UK spelling) is that you might be in the middle of a very bad nightmare and just die. I vividly remember fighting for breath in nightmares and forcing myself to wake up, so bad were the breathing stoppages. Dying without a machine or staying alive with...a simple choice, me thinks.
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(09-03-2014, 04:07 PM)Masterblast Wrote: Its only been a month and my life has changed dramatically. Huge increase in energy, wakefulness, well being and family life. Plus my wife loves the quietness at night lol. No more being scared driving highway 63 trying to stay awake. Now just to get my body healthy once again!

I hear ya....63 is a bad enough road when you are fully awake! Nice to see another from Metro here Smile
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Given that we all will die, I would prefer to do it in my sleep. They just don't want to do it right now. That's why I'm here and likely why I have lots of company. We'll never hear from the ones that found out they had sleep apnea and decided to do without CPAP therapy and not tell anybody or those who had it and didn't know it, other than we'll sometimes read their last bio in the paper.

Unless you are in your nineties and in extreme pain due to a terminal condition, you'd be a fool to turn down an effective treatment that could giver you a new outlook on life and allow you to enjoy it more. One of the insidious aspects of sleep apnea is the fact that it affects the way we think. It can make you so depressed from lack of proper rest that you make poor decisions, even about what you can do to control your apnea problem.

For those who show up here and on similar forums, the hope is that they will follow the steps necessary to get on the road to recovery. There is plenty of help from experts who donate their time to the effort so take heed and you'll soon be glad you did. The world looks completely different when you're fully rested.
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There's also the problems where apnea doesn't kill.

There's the obvious cases of non-fatal, but debilitating strokes, heart attacks, and more. Or the case where there's nothing that specific wrong with you, but you're too tired to enjoy life and are just existing, not living.
Get the free SleepyHead software here.
Useful links.
Click here for information on the main alternative to CPAP.
If it's midnight and a DME tells you it's dark outside, go and check it yourself.
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(09-03-2014, 01:45 PM)Labrat0116 Wrote: Yes, I know. This is an issue that folks don't like to talk about but it is a reality of our condition.

Of course each person that has it is different. That's a given.

So, just how deadly is untreated sleep apnea ?

VERY! If not immediately, "died in his sleep", in a car, train or boat crash; then Certainly long term and declining illnesses.

My father flatly refused to use his CPAP, BiPAP and anything else we tried; full face mask, nose mask, nasal pillows, sizes, head straps, etc. Of course, by the time he was diagnosed he had already caused his own brain injury due to oxygen deprivation (dementia) and damaged his heart enough that he had open heart surgery to replace a valve. AND, he "died in his sleep", napping onto his dessert; yes ONTO his dessert, he usually could not keep his head up because he was so exhausted.

Will this explain why a CPAP/APAP is Vital??

Yours in improving health.
Evpraxia in the Pacific Northwest USA
Diagnosed: 44 AHI when supine, O2 down to 82%
Treated since 20 Sept 2014:: 0.7 AHI, Settings 7-15, EPR on Full Time at Level 3
Better living through CPAP/APAP machines!
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While this thread is correct, and great overall, we must remember that it's the *DEGREE* of OSA that a person has, combined with greater details like how low their blood O2 goes during a study, and how long a given 'event' lasts. Many people have OSA, but not everyone of them must have treatment. But even in those cases, it is advised to get a new study done every five years, as the degree of OSA is a moving target.

As I've said before - for me personally - All I need to do to 'opt-out' of life is stop using my machine - I am that bad. Better for me to not sleep at all, than to sleep without my dream machine. My wife's untreated AHI is better generally than my treated AHI (which ranges from 2 to 20).

If I were ever to consider 'quitting' like the OP - I would first buy/borrow a recording Oximeter and verify that I do not get any bad desats at night - as that is just asking to kill brain cells, and stress other organs.
*I* am not a DOCTOR or any type of Health Care Professional.  My thoughts/suggestions/ideas are strictly only my opinions.

"Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you. Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your Soul, the other for your Freedom."
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