could sleep apnea cause death

Could Sleep Apnea have Contributed to Justice Scalia’s Death

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could sleep apnea cause deathKnoxville and Maryville, TN

On the night of February 13th, Justice Scalia passed away in his hotel room. Details of what the sheriff’s department found when they entered his room include neatly folded clothes, bed covers that were smooth, and he was lying on his bed with his arms to his side. The only thing that appeared to be strange was his breathing apparatus, a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine that was unplugged and not turned on. Could his death have been caused by forgetting to use his CPAP?

Scalia was one of the 22 million Americans that suffer from sleep apnea, which is a sleep disorder that causes the airway to become blocked, decreasing oxygen levels. Sometimes, sleep apnea is caused by a signaling issue from the brain. Sleep apnea will cause the sufferer to gasp loudly for air or snore. These episodes may last seconds to minutes and can occur up to hundreds of times while asleep. All the while, sleep apnea starves the body and brain of the necessary oxygen it needs.

Sleep apnea has been linked to many life-threatening diseases such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and even affects memory, cognitive function, and mood. The CPAP machine is a common treatment for sleep apnea. The machine works by forcing air through a mask that is worn by the patient while asleep. Treating sleep apnea is like treating high blood pressure, meaning the patient must continually use their machine for treatment to be effective. Although medical experts state that skipping a night or two of CPAP use bears only a slight risk of death, intermittent use is still not advised.

A recent study took into account two separate groups of individuals (with sleep apnea) from Switzerland. One group stopped using their CPAP machine for two weeks while the other group continued using a CPAP as directed. The results showed a significant increase in sleep apnea symptoms in the subjects that had discontinued use of their CPAP. Symptoms such as an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as deterioration of vascular function, appeared within only a few days of discontinuing use of their CPAP machine.

With these findings, it is impossible to say with certainty that Justice Scalia’s death was due in part to not using his CPAP machine. However, facts are certainly clear as to the result of not treating one’s sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Maryville

If you suffer from sleep apnea, Crestview Dental Care can help. We offer a convenient treatment for treating sleep apnea that involves wearing a custom-made oral sleep appliance that is not noisy or cumbersome. You can get treatment for your obstructive sleep apnea without the hassle of having to use a CPAP machine. Our custom-made oral appliances are discreet and comfortable enough to take with you on overnight stays.

For a consultation, please contact Crestview Dental Care today at (865) 982-1700. We welcome patients of Knoxville and Maryville, Tennessee.

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