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Sleep Apnea can kill you. There, I said it. I didn't want to say it, because I prefer to emphasize the positive aspects of treating Sleep Apnea rather than dwelling on the negative consequences of not treating it. But some among us will only respond to fear, so for their benefit, I'm putting this stark message "out there."

What's the proof that Sleep Apnea can kill? The study published by Terry Young, Ph.D. and her colleagues at the University of Wisconsin at Madison is particularly convincing and ominous. Back in 1988, Dr. Young rounded up a large group of randomly selected Wisconsinites (about 1,500 people) who agreed to be tested for Sleep Apnea. Dr. Young recorded not only whether they had Sleep Apnea, but also if they did, the level of Sleep Apnea severity. Dr. Young asked this group, known as her "Wisconsin Cohort" group, to agree to be tracked over the years, and they agreed. Fast forward to 2006, when Dr. Young checked in on them. After 18 years, some had passed away, some were still as healthy as they were back in 1988. The key for our purposes is that, controlling for all other factors, the folks who were identified as having severe Sleep Apnea and who did not get treatment for it were three to four times as likely as the others to die from something . . . anything, and five times more likely to die from stroke or cardiovascular disease.

So for those of you who need fear to motivate, are you afraid yet? I would be if I weren't paying attention to my treatment.

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Comment by Mary Z on August 16, 2010 at 10:09am
penny, I'm not afraid of dying. I don't want heart disease, high blood pressure, wt gain, or excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue. It's not the fear of dying that keeps me on CPAP. On the other hand I think it's a shame when someone young with a family and everthing to live for dies for no good reason.
Comment by Jeanna Marie on July 8, 2010 at 1:21am
I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea about 3 years ago. A year after being diagnosed I lost my insurance and thought it was not very important to use the machine and my mask broke. but a week ago found my self gasping for breath when I woke up.. i am going to re-evaluate my stupidity!
Comment by Banyon on February 25, 2010 at 4:31pm
Reggie White's widow set up a foundation in remembrance of Reggie for education about sleep apnea:
Comment by robert on February 25, 2010 at 4:10pm
If we have any football fans in the room, Many would remember a great player by the name os Reggie White. He was an untreated Sleep Apnea patient. He died December 27, 2004 at 43
Comment by Mary Z on February 10, 2010 at 10:12am
Ivette, please tell us more about yourself. Were you actually diagnosed and don't have insurance or $ for treatment? I don't blame you for being afraid. There may be someone on the forum who knows options for getting treatment with donated equipment. Dr. Park comes to mind. He did a teleconference a while back and the gentleman that he talked to knew a number of resources for getting treatment. Someone not long ago gave a CPAP machine away on this forum.

Keep posting and please give us your story, you never know who you might help, or who might help you.

Welcome to Sleepguide,
Mary Z.
Comment by Ivette Vincenty on February 9, 2010 at 10:30pm
I living with the condition with no treatment and every night this idea come to my mind. Actually I only sleep two or three hours in the all night and really I living afraid for this situation
Comment by 99 on February 7, 2010 at 1:35pm
new post are tagged onto the end of a thread
in this post new post are put at the beginging
Comment by Joseph Gardiner on February 7, 2010 at 3:23am
I am suppose to use my cpap and have not its very uncomfortabl and I feel like my apnea is getting worse as a result? can that happen if I continue not using my cpap machine?
Comment by Sherry Melanie Edwards on January 25, 2010 at 9:35pm
My doctor said I have the worst case of sleep apnea he has ever seen. It started many years ago. I would take a nap and my children and husband would notice that I would jump every few minuates. My children were small then. I didn't hear of apnia back then but my husband took me to the doctor and he told him that something was wrong and asked if they have a sleep study in our hospital. I was getting out of bed and sleeping in a recliner. I was sent to a clinic and as a result it changed my life a great deal. I don't believe I would be alive now if it had not been dianosed.I'm a good deal older and still feel like I haven't slept much in the mornings and am tired all the time, as well as not being focused well. BUT I'm alive!!!! My mom died age 55 during her sleep and I believe that she had it also. There were not studies then but she did not sleep well and had to elavate her head at night. My mom told me that my grand mother never slept and would sit up all night, I have been told by my doctor that is it enherited.
Comment by Kevin Barthelemy on January 22, 2010 at 3:32pm
78 times a night? I stop breathing over 200 times an hour. Without my CPAP, the odds are pretty good that I wouldn't live to retire.

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