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Just How Deadly is Untreated Sleep Apnea really ?
Interestingly enough, during the study of my SpO2 while asleep using a recording Pulse Oximeter, my SpO2 dropped regularly down into the 70% range. While not pointed out to me by any of my doctors (and I have had plenty - long story that's probably posted on here somewhere) I discovered it myself, as I have most other OSA related afflictions including Atrial Fibrillation (my Left Atrium grew to 60mm, now down into the 40's and looking for 40 which could be considered "normal" for many). My problem arose when entering REM sleep and shallow breathing and once recognized I booked an appointment with my respirologist/sleep doc and went in with a binder with graphs... requested a prescription for an oxygen concentrator and got one without discussion. The only thing he said was "you should have gone into medicine". Fact is, I almost did some years ago (around the time they stopped using leaches) and my daughter is heading that way in some format. When self-diagnosing (and I don't recommend doing that without medical supervision from a co-operative MD) be sure to REGULARLY tape a Contec 50EW onto your finger for the night to see where your SpO2 heads over the night. Betcha it drops during REM sleep. And during strings of events as well. It is at this time that your body will arouse you but not before sending your BLOOD PRESSURE sky high (and I am talking SKY HIGH here). The result, as I stated before, is quite simple. Vital organ damage, unhealthy blood vessel minor bleeds, STROKE, aneurism discovery, heart disease and attacks, arrhythmias (like AFib) and on and on. Even Type 2 diabetes can be brought on as your vital organs degrade and believe me, it is a treat trying to beat diabetes. I have been directed right onto Lantus twice a day on top of Metformin. Started Dr. Poon's metabolic diet about 3-4 weeks ago and we have each lost about 20-25 pounds (much of it water in the beginning) and have cut our diabetic meds by 50% (all under the supervision of an MD of course). I expect that when we get our weight right down there and continue eating healthy we will be off diabetic medication - but once a diabetic, always a diabetic. So, to answer your question? You don't want to find out. The answer is YES. Absolutely.
Educate, Advocate, Contemplate.
Herein lies personal opinion, no professional advice, which ALL are well advised to seek.

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Like a number of other health issues, it is a matter of degree.

Using myself and my wife as examples, and only talking about OSA and Diabetes:

I am a type II diabetic. Watching my diet and getting exercise gets me an A1C of 5.2 with no meds.
My wife is type I (as was her Mother), even with insulin, her last A1C was 8.4 (not good)
In the above, if nothing changes either way, my wife is at a far greater risk than I.

My first study was many years ago so I do not remember any of the exact numbers - only that I am a 'case study' in some book, that my O2 would drop to the low 60s, and not cause me to wake up for extended periods at a time. I never reached REM sleep at all, and my untreated OSA caused heart issues that only recently have begun to improve after all these years on CPAP.

Whereas my wife's sleep study showed zero O2 events, and less than '10' OA events per hour. She chose to go on a CPAP regardless, and it has improved her sleep quality.

Again, if nothing changed, my life depends on my CPAP~! In my case, allowing my OSA to go untreated is completely deadly. Not so in the case of my wife.
*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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(10-02-2014, 05:11 AM)Moriarty Wrote:
(09-03-2014, 04:14 PM)archangle Wrote: I don't think there are really good numbers.

Actually there has been a bit of work done in the field... and it was some time ago...

One that interested and convinced me is :

Sleep Apnea as an Independent Risk Factor for All-Cause Mortality: The Busselton Health Study

Click on the PDF tab on the page to get the longer document.



Interesting, but...

There were only 18 moderate to severe apneacs in the study. They also didn't assess the effects of CPAP treatment.

There's the possibility that some of the apneacs got treatment and the numbers would have been worse for untreated apneacs.

There's the possibility that other health problems were responsible for both the apnea and the higher death rate.
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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