Can Snoring… Kill You?

did carrie fisher die from sleep apnea and snoring related health problemsSleep apnea disorder (heavy snoring’s older brother) is not usually assigned by doctors as the direct cause of death, but it can certainly lead to a large range of other potential deadly health problems. Also, substance abuse can cause sleep disturbances, which result in relapse.

Sleep apnea, combined with other factors, are claimed to have caused iconic 70’s Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher to experience a heart attack and die on an airplane from London to New York at the end of 2017.

Carrie Fisher was highly at risk of dying from sleep apnea, as the physicians who analyzed her body’s condition post-mortem found a presence of opiates, cocaine, and alcohol.

Can You Actually Die from Sleep Apnea?

Can you actually pass away from the condition known as sleep apnea?

Some would debate that you will not actually die in your sleep from obstructive sleep apnea, or its main symptom and precursor- snoring. When the body’s nervous system determines it’s not getting enough air during sleep, it causes people to wake up abruptly.

At this time, the person becomes conscious and continues breathing again once again. This is why snorers and sleep apnea patients wake up repeatedly during the night, and fail to achieve REM sleep, the deepest sleep that promotes healing, well being, and energy replenishment.

However, when ignored, heavy snoring and sleep apnea can have major and life-threatening effects: unhealthy and high blood pressure, diabetes, lack of energy and massive fatigue during daylight hours, and sudden cardiac arrest during sleep.

3 million military veteran were followed for a period of 9 years, and researchers found that the ones with OSA were 86% likely to suffer a premature death than those who proactively treated the medical condition.

That’s a pretty big likelihood of dying before your time, and it seems to occur frequently in men, perhaps because men are more likely to be physically active than women, but then “retire” from significant physical exertion when the job no longer requires it, or as they grow older and get a little lazier, while still eating as much delicious food in sight.

This seems to also be the case with many professional atheletes as well. Former teammates Brett Favre and Reggie White both have sleep apnea, with the latter succumbing to a sudden death at the age of 43, due to many health complications including sarcoidosis, which is often found in conjunction with sleep apnea. The same issue of being overweight continues to turn up, as even NBA Champ Shaquille O’Neal put on a lot of pounds once he retired from playing basketball professionally.

“If we can get people to lose weight, it would make both sleep apnea and other health problems [such as heart disease] go away,” says Dr. Epstein. Dropping just 10% of a person’s body weight can have a massive effect on sleep apnea symptoms. In some cases, losing a large amount of weight can even cure the condition.

Obstructive sleep apnea, most common in people who are overweight, occurs when the breathing airways become very narrow or blocked. This can result in loud and obnoxious snoring, annyoing your partner and decreasing your wow factor overall in everyday life. Sleep apnea can even cause brain damage. Makes sense, because your body and brain are not getting enough oxygen.

However, on a somewhat positive note, a neuroimaging study showed recently that white matter damage caused in the brain by severe OSA can be reversed by CPAP use, also known as continuous positive airway pressure therapy.

Celebrities with sleep apnea: Notice a pattern regarding weight and sleep apnea here?

NBA Champion Shaquille O’Neal
NFL quarterback Brett Favre
TV Talk Show Host Regis Philbin
Star Trek Actor William Shatner
Magician and Showman Penn Jillette
Writer Anne Rice
Daniel Lawrence Whitney (Larry the Cable Guy)
Music Producer and American Idol judge Randy Jackson
Music Producing Extraordinaire Quincy Jones (deceased)
Actress and Funny Woman Roseanne Barr
Comedian Rosie O’Donnell
Mythbusters TV show personality Adam Savage
Texas politician Rick Perry

However, it should also be noted that sleep apnea can also occur in thin people, and kids. This is usually due to the blockage of the airway by inflamed tonsils or larger-than-average musculoskeletal tissues, and even a blockage of the nostrils like deviated septum.

Not All Sleep Apnea is Obstructive: Some of it is Literally in Your Head

There are actually two types of sleep apnea, obstructive (the most common) and central sleep apnea, where central sleep apnea is caused by the nervous system failing to send out messages to the lungs to ensure the person breathes involuntarily during sleep.

Magnesium is a common mineral taken by people to enhance the body’s muscle relaxation. Because Sleep Apnea causes the muscles in the neck to constrict, Magnesium works to disrupt the cramping and relax the body. 5-HTP and Magnesium should be taken in tandem when supplementing for sleep apnea.

The most important aspect of it all? Treat your sleep apnea, period.

While you don’t have to necessarily get surgery to correct your apnea condition (usually done as a last resort), actively doing something to decrease or treat your snoring and sleep apnea is very likely to prolong your life and improve your health, as well as your living standard. CPAP is the golden standard in sleep apnea treatment, but less committal options include stop snoring and sleep apnea mouthpieces which can be bought over the counter, or custom fitted by a dentist.

Final Strategy for Sleep Apnea and Severe Snoring


Sleep Apnea Treatment

sleep-apnea-treatmentSleep apnea is a disease that is characterized by difficulties in breathing. It leads to the absence of sleep for the victim.

There are different types of sleep apnea medications accessible to the affected individuals.These treatment options range from home remedies or behavior changes to nonsurgical and surgical options.However, each sleep apnea treatment option is applied to the affected person depending on the severity of his or her problem.

Home remedies/behavior changes

These include things you can do yourself to ease the impact of sleep apnea on your body. Again, this form of treatment is applicable in the instances where the disorder is not severe, meaning the ailment is mild or moderate. Home remedies/behavior changes that can be used involve lifestyle changes which include:

Loss of weight

Various researches show that loss of excess weight can completely correct mild to moderate disorder among obese people. In fact, even a slight weight loss can help in opening the throat of the affected person thus improving symptoms.

Quitting smoking

Smoking is known to cause sleep apnea by increasing inflammation and fluids retention in the throat plus the upper airway. Thus, quitting smoking can go a long way in easing the effects of the disorder.

Other home remedies and behavioral changes that can act as sleep apnea treatments include avoiding alcohol, sedatives and sleeping pills, especially before bedtime since they make the throat muscles relax and thus interfering with the breathing mechanisms. Additionally, you should avoid heavy meals and caffeine within one hour of going to sleep.

Nonsurgical options available for sleep apnea treatment include:

Continuous positive airway pressure:

This type of nonsurgical option is administered to patients who have moderate sleep apnea. However, most people find this method rather cumbersome and uncomfortable since it involves a machine that generates air pressure through a mask that is placed over the patient’s nose while the patient is asleep.

The generated air pressure is put slightly above the surrounding air. Thus it helps in keeping the patient’s upper airways passages open to prevent apnea and snoring.

Adjustable airway pressure devices: If the above option is not working, this type of treatment is applied to the patient. The pressure device routinely adjusts the pressure when the patient is asleep.

Oral appliance:

This is another nonsurgical treatment option available. The oral appliance is placed in the patient’s throat to keep it open. The oral appliances are easy to use and they are used to open the patient’s throat by bringing their jaw forward, thus relieving mild obstructive sleep apnea and snoring.

Sleep apnea mouthpiece is used as an approved technique to stop or reduce snoring by moving the lower jaw forward. Supplemental oxygen is another nonsurgical treatment option available to victims. The supplemental oxygen is used in instance where a patient has central sleep apnea.

It is important to know that there are different forms of oxygen available as well as various devices that are used to administer oxygen in the patient’s lungs.


This sleep apnea treatment option is considered to be the last option for treating the disorder when all other options have failed.Use of surgery is to eliminate excessive tissues from the patient’s throat or noise that may be vibrating thus causing the patient to snore.

Also, surgery removes the tissues that may be blocking the upper air passages thus causing the condition.