March 27, 2023 3 min read

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the more common of the two sleep apneas. This highly prevalent sleep disorder affects about a billion people globally [1]. Research shows that many of these folks have a 2-times greater risk of dying early [2] — that is unless they treat their OSA.


Because OSA can shorten your life expectancy by several years, it is important to have it treated. Unfortunately, the majority of those affected are not aware they have the condition [3]. But the good news is that, with treatment, those with the condition can expect to live long and healthy lives. 

Why OSA Can Shorten Life Expectancy

With OSA, the upper airways collapse as you fall asleep, causing breathing to be shallow or completely stop. This leads to a drop in blood oxygen levels, which triggers arousal from sleep. These episodes can repeat hundreds of times during a single light and seriously fragment sleep. Both sleep fragmentation and low blood oxygen levels can increase your risk of hypertension, atherosclerosis, stroke, and other dangerous conditions [4]. 


Other complications of OSA include pulmonary hypertension, mental health problems, poor quality of life, and even motor vehicle accidents [5]. In other words, many of the same problems seen with chronic insomnia and other sleep disorders can affect those dealing with sleep apnea, even if they’re not aware of their condition.

What Is the Life Expectancy With OSA?

Untreated sleep apnea was found to increase a person’s risk of early death two-fold [2]. But how long a person can expect to live following an OSA diagnosis is difficult to know. Life expectancy with untreated OSA depends on many factors, including age and general health. The usual causes of early death in these patients are [6]: 


  • Heart attack 
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Arrhythmia

But when treated, the outcomes are much better for those diagnosed with this condition. Multiple studies show that the survival of sleep apnea patients is much greater when they consistently manage their condition than when they don’t. For instance, a study on elderly OSA patients found that 93% were still alive during the 5-year follow-up compared to 69% of the untreated OSA patients [7]. Another study found that the life expectancy of those with treated OSA was the same as that of the general population [8].

What This All Means for You

If you suspect you or a loved one has OSA, speak to your doctor who will refer you to a sleep specialist if necessary. Treating sleep apnea on time reduces the risks of it further harming your or a loved one's health. 


OSA is normally treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. This treatment uses a device that delivers constant air pressure to a mask or nosepiece to keep your airways open during sleep. But because many find this treatment uncomfortable,  Good Morning Snore Solution can be a viable alternative for milder cases of snoring and OSA. 



References: 

  1. Slowik JM, Sankari A, Collen JF. Obstructive Sleep Apnea. [Updated 2022 Jun 28]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459252/

  1. Ge X, Han F, Huang Y, et al. Is obstructive sleep apnea associated with cardiovascular and all-cause mortality? [published correction appears in PLoS One. 2014;9(4):e95953].PLoS One. 2013;8(7):e69432. Published 2013 Jul 25.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069432

  1. Finkel KJ, Searleman AC, Tymkew H, et al. Prevalence of undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea among adult surgical patients in an academic medical center.Sleep Med. 2009;10(7):753-758.doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2008.08.007

  1. Yeghiazarians Y, Jneid H, Tietjens JR, et al. Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Disease: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association [published correction appears in Circulation. 2022 Mar 22;145(12):e775].Circulation. 2021;144(3):e56-e67.doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000988

  1. Harding SM. Complications and consequences of obstructive sleep apnea.Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2000;6(6):485-489.doi:10.1097/00063198-200011000-00004

  1. Ge X, Han F, Huang Y, Zhang Y, Yang T, Bai C, Guo X. Is obstructive sleep apnea associated with cardiovascular and all-cause mortality?PLoS One. 2013 Jul 25;8(7):e69432.doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069432. Erratum in: PLoS One. 2014;9(4):e95953. PMID: 23936014; PMCID: PMC3723897.

  1. Campos-Rodriguez F, Peña-Griñan N, Reyes-Nuñez N, et al. Mortality in obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea patients treated with positive airway pressure.Chest. 2005;128(2):624-633.doi:10.1378/chest.128.2.624

  1. Chaouat A. Mortalité du syndrome d'apnées du sommeil traité [Mortality in treated sleep apnea syndrome].Rev Neurol (Paris). 2003;159(11 Suppl):6S95-6S97.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14646808/



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