What Is Life Expectancy With Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea reduces life expectancy, but treatment can help mitigate risks - find out what is life expectancy with sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a serious health problem. It makes you stop breathing when sleeping. This happens over and over. Obstructive sleep apnea is when your airway closes during sleep, cutting off air.

Sleep apnea can lower how long you live if you don’t treat it. It raises the chance of dying early.12 People with severe sleep apnea are at a higher risk of dying. They face three times more risk than those without it.1 But, using CPAP or oral devices can lower these dangers. It can help you live longer even with sleep apnea.3

Key Takeaways

  • Severe, untreated sleep apnea can shorten life by 8-18 years. This is compared to the general group of people.3
  • Treating sleep apnea with CPAP or oral devices helps lower the risk of early death.3
  • Not treating sleep apnea can lead to heart issues, high blood pressure, and strokes.3
  • People with serious sleep apnea have a 19% chance of dying. This is higher than the general number of 4%.1
  • Using CPAP a lot can cut down on the risk of dying from sleep apnea. The risk becomes like that of the general group.1

Understanding Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder when breathing stops briefly during sleep.2 The main type is obstructive sleep apnea. It happens when the throat’s back muscles relax too much, blocking the airway.4

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea causes pauses in breathing while sleeping. These pauses can happen many times each night. They lead to feeling tired during the day and other health issues.2

Causes and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

People with sleep apnea often snore loudly. They might also gasp or choke in their sleep. During the day, they feel very tired and might have trouble focusing.4

Things like being obese, having a big neck, or a family history of sleep apnea make it more likely. Other conditions, like high blood pressure and diabetes, also increase the risk.4

Obstructive sleep apnea happens when something physically blocks the throat’s airway. This blockage is often because of muscle relaxation during sleep.4 Central sleep apnea is different. It comes from a problem with how the brain controls breathing during sleep.4

Sleep Apnea TypeCause
Obstructive Sleep ApneaPhysical blockage of the airway, often due to muscle relaxation in the throat
Central Sleep ApneaBrain’s failure to properly control breathing during sleep

Sleep Apnea and Mortality Risk

Many studies show sleep apnea makes early death more likely. People with severe cases are three times more at risk. Those not treating sleep apnea face even higher chances, jumping to 4.3 without using CPAP.1

Increased Risk of Premature Death

19% with severe sleep apnea died vs. 4% with none.1 Those with severe, untreated cases face very high risks.5

Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke

Sleep apnea raises chances of heart issues, high blood pressure, and stroke.1 A linkage exists, with severe cases facing a 5.2 hazard ratio.1 42% of these deaths are due to heart problems or stroke, higher than those without sleep apnea.1

Comorbidities, like high blood pressure or stroke, worsen sleep apnea’s effect. Proper care, with CPAP for example, lowers these risks.1

What Is Life Expectancy With Sleep Apnea?

Finding out life expectancy for people with sleep apnea is tough. Many go without knowing they have it. But, studies have found that folks with severe, untreated sleep apnea might live shorter lives. They might see 8 to 18 fewer years of life.3 Yet, those who use CPAP machines often live as long as anyone else. This is especially true when they don’t also have serious lung issues. This shows that good treatment can help people with sleep apnea live longer.

Untreated Sleep Apnea and Mortality Rates

Studies have shown that bad sleep apnea makes the risk of death from anything three times more likely. This is compared to those who sleep well, shown as a risk ratio of 3.2.1 But if we take out those who use CPAP, that risk of death goes up. In this case, the risk ratio jumps to 4.3.1 Over an 18-year study, almost 1 in 5 people with severe sleep apnea died. This is compared to just 4% of people without it.1 These numbers really show how harmful untreated sleep apnea can be.

Severe sleep apnea also makes dying from heart problems more likely. About 42% of deaths in people with bad sleep apnea are heart-related.1 Without CPAP users included, the risk of dying from heart issues or a stroke is much higher. It increases from 2.9 to 5.2.1 Even if we adjust for things like smoking or high cholesterol, the risk is still high.1

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One study had 1,522 people, with 4% having severe sleep apnea. Most people, 76%, had no sleep apnea.1 Over the study, 80 people died. Among them, 37 died from cancer, and 25 from heart and stroke issues. The link between sleep apnea and these deaths isn’t clear. But, things like high blood pressure and diabetes might be involved.1

More research points out that sleep apnea also raises the chance of stroke and early death.2 After having sleep apnea for 5 years, the risk of heart attack or death goes up by 30%.2 Over 40% of deaths in those with bad sleep apnea are because of heart problems.2 People with severe sleep apnea have over five times the risk of death from heart issues than those without. This was found in a study in 2008.2

All these facts show how untreated sleep apnea can really cut our lives short. Getting the right treatment is so important to lower these risks.

sleep apnea life expectancy

Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and sleep-disordered breathing are big concerns nowadays.6 Luckily, there are many good ways to treat this. These treatments help people feel better and live healthier.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy

CPAP therapy is the top choice for working on OSA.67 It uses a gentle air flow to keep your throat open as you sleep. This stops snoring and keeps you from stopping breathing, making it the best way to treat severe sleep apnea.6

Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliances, made by dentists, are great for milder sleep apnea or if CPAP is not for you.67 These are custom mouthpieces. They work by holding your jaw forward to keep your airway open.

Lifestyle Changes

Changing how you live can also help with sleep apnea.6 Losing weight, keeping active, and sleeping on your right side can make a big difference.6 Plus, doing yoga is also good for lessening sleep apnea signs.6

People with sleep apnea can get better by using a mix of these treatments.678 This can lead to a healthier, happier life.

Impact of Treatment on Life Expectancy

Studies show that treating sleep apnea with CPAP can boost life span. This is true, especially for those with severe sleep apnea. When they use CPAP often, their risk of early death gets lower.9 It becomes like that of the general group, especially if they don’t have other breathing problems. This means CPAP helps fight the risk that comes with not treating sleep apnea fast.9 For people with mild sleep apnea, oral appliances and changing how they live also help. These steps can add more years to their life.10

Treatment OptionImpact on Life Expectancy
CPAP TherapyReduces mortality rates to levels similar to the general population when used consistently, especially for those without co-existing chronic respiratory diseases.9
Oral Appliance TherapyImproves longevity for those with mild to moderate sleep apnea.10
Lifestyle ChangesCan positively impact longevity for those with milder forms of sleep apnea.10

Sleep apnea treatment, like using CPAP a lot, can cut early death risks. This makes life longer and healthier for many. Life expectancy and health improve a lot this way.910

Sleep Apnea and Comorbidities

Sleep apnea often comes with other serious problems. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a big issue. It can make hypertension worse, which raises the chance of heart disease and stroke.1112

Hypertension and Sleep Apnea

Many people with high blood pressure also have sleep apnea. In men with high blood pressure, 42-65% have sleep apnea and snore.11 Sleep apnea is a top cause of tough-to-treat high blood pressure. Treating sleep apnea can help lower blood pressure. This is good news for patients.11

Diabetes and Sleep Apnea

Diabetes is another issue that often goes along with sleep apnea. People with diabetes are more likely to have sleep apnea. Together, they make each other worse.12 Without treatment, sleep apnea adds a heavy burden. It’s especially hard on men over 40.12

Treating sleep apnea helps with these health problems. It allows better control of high blood pressure and diabetes. This brings better health for the long run.12

Sleep Apnea Life Expectancy Statistics

Research tells us how sleep apnea affects life expectancy and mortality. One study found that severe, untreated sleep apnea can lead to a 7% death rate within 5 years. This is much higher than the general rate.1 But without other chronic respiratory diseases, the risk drops to about 2%, closer to the general rate.1 Yet, the danger of early death is still high for those not getting treatment. This shows the importance of getting diagnosed and treated.1,9,13

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Those with severe sleep apnea are three times more likely to die than those without. The risk is higher without using the CPAP machine too.1 A study found 19% of those with severe sleep apnea died, while only 4% without sleep apnea died.1

Severe sleep apnea increases the risk of dying from heart problems. Without CPAP use, the risk goes up even more.1 CPAP can help reduce this risk. About 42% of deaths in severe sleep apnea cases are from heart issues or stroke. This is more than no-sleep-apnea cases.1

People with mild or moderate sleep apnea also face higher risk of dying but not by much.1 Studies show sleep apnea alone can increase death risk. For those with severe cases, treatment might help lower this risk.9

On average, those with sleep apnea have a 74% greater chance of dying.13 In a 20-year study on vets, about 15% with OSA died.13 For those with CSA, the rate went up to 25%.13

With untreated sleep apnea, the death risk increases. 5-15 episodes per hour mean a 40% higher risk.13 For 16-30 episodes per hour, it’s a 70% higher risk.13 Above 30 episodes per hour, the risk goes up by 280%.13

Severe sleep apnea also links to a 15% higher cancer risk. \Regular low oxygen increases this to 30%.13 Sleep apnea may cause brain harm which can relate to dementia and stroke.13

Recognizing Sleep Apnea Symptoms

One big sign of sleep apnea is loud4 snoring. Episodes of gasping or choking are common, too. They happen when the airway gets blocked, making the person stop breathing for a short time. Daytime sleepiness is also a key symptom. Even after sleeping all night, those with sleep apnea feel tired. They may be grumpy and have trouble focusing during the day. It’s key to know these signs to get the right help and treatment for sleep apnea.

Snoring and Gasping

Loud snoring and gasping or choking in sleep are classic symptoms of sleep apnea.4 They happen when the airway is blocked, leading to brief pauses in breathing. This is because throat muscles relax too much, causing the airway to collapse.

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

Falling asleep during the day is another symptom. Even after a good night’s rest, people with sleep apnea feel very tired. They can be grumpy and struggle to focus. This tiredness can harm daily life and raise the chance of accidents, like nodding off while driving.

Sleep Apnea and Quality of Life

Sleep apnea impacts health and quality of life.1 It causes daytime tiredness, trouble focusing, and grouchy moods. These can make daily life hard and harm relationships. Plus, it’s tied to more depression and risky accidents, like driving when drowsy.1 Treating sleep apnea doesn’t just improve health. It also ups quality of life and happiness.

Sleep apnea hits hard on life quality.1 Especially with severe cases, the risks of dying are three times higher. This goes up more without CPAP help.1 Living with chronic tiredness, bad focus, and accident risks is tough. But, tackling sleep apnea head-on can boost energy, focus, and well-being.1

Sleep apnea’s effects go beyond the body.1 It links to higher depression rates. Daytime sleepiness and odd sleep times stress mental health. This makes daily activities and keeping friendships hard.1 Fixing sleep apnea helps improve sleep quality. This can lower mental hardships and lift life quality.1

Summing up, sleep apnea heavily affects well-being and mental clarity.1 The right care, like CPAP or lifestyle changes, can bring back energy and focus. This helps in facing daily challenges.1

Preventing Sleep Apnea Complications

It’s very important to prevent or handle sleep apnea’s health dangers.14 Getting checked for sleep apnea, even without clear symptoms, is a must.14 If diagnosed, sticking to your treatment is key. This includes using a CPAP machine, oral devices, or changing how you live.14 Using a CPAP machine a lot can lower the death risk from sleep apnea.1 These steps can help avoid the bad effects of this disease and make life healthier and longer.

Regular Sleep Apnea Screening

Screening for sleep apnea often, even without well-known signs, is key.14 More than 20% of overweight people have sleep apnea.14 And its chances go up in women after menopause.14 Finding it early helps a lot. It means dealing with it faster and avoiding major issues.

Adherence to Treatment

Following the treatment plan you get after a sleep apnea diagnosis is crucial.14 CPAP therapy, which is the top choice, works really well.14 It lowers your blood pressure, helps you stay awake during the day, and makes life better.14 Studies have shown CPAP users have less chance of a stroke or heart attack.14 Their blood sugar stays lower too.14 Using CPAP or other adviced treatments well can cut the odds of dying young and make your health better.1

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Sleep Apnea and Longevity

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can reduce a person’s life if not treated. People with severe sleep apnea might live 8 to 18 years less than others.3 But, with the right care, the outlook is good. Using CPAP or other treatments helps these individuals live a longer and healthier life.3 Living healthy and sticking to treatment plans are very important.

Research shows that those with severe sleep apnea are three times more likely to die from any cause.1 This risk is even higher without CPAP therapy. About 19% of people with severe sleep apnea died, while only 4% without it did.1 This shows how serious untreated sleep apnea can be.

People with untreated sleep apnea face higher risks of heart problems and strokes.3 A study over 18 years found over 40% of deaths in severe cases were from heart disease. This was higher than those without sleep apnea.2 The chance of dying from heart issues is over five times more in severe cases.2

Using CPAP or oral appliance therapy can make a big difference for people with sleep apnea. These treatments can cut down the risk of dying, helping people live long and healthy lives.3 Proper care is key for better health and a longer life for those with sleep apnea.


Sleep apnea is a big deal, affecting how long someone might live if not treated. People with severe sleep apnea, not treated, face three times the risk of early death. The main reason is the connection with heart problems like high blood pressure, heart attacks, and stroke.9 This link makes it really important to get treatment.

But, there’s good news. Treatment with a CPAP machine or oral devices can lower these risks. This allows people with sleep apnea to have a longer, healthier life.9 It’s key to get regular check-ups and follow the advice of your doctor. This will help you manage sleep apnea and have better health for a longer time.15

Using a CPAP machine regularly can bring your risk of early death down to normal levels. This finding shows how much CPAP can help.9 There are also other effective ways to treat sleep apnea, like using oral devices and making lifestyle changes. These can really boost the chances of a longer life for people with not so severe sleep apnea.10


What is the life expectancy for someone with sleep apnea?

Severe, untreated sleep apnea could reduce your life by 8-18 years. Yet, CPAP therapy or oral appliances can help you live longer. They make the risk lower and your life healthier.

How does sleep apnea increase the risk of premature death?

Untreated sleep apnea makes your risk of death three times higher. It’s mostly because of its tie to heart issues and stroke. This includes high blood pressure, heart attacks, and blood clots.

What are the common symptoms of sleep apnea?

Loud snoring, gasping or choking during sleep, and being overly tired are common signs. Even if you slept all night, you might still feel sleepy during the day. They happen when your airway gets blocked, making you stop breathing at times.

How can sleep apnea treatment improve life expectancy?

Using CPAP or other treatments can lower the risk of dying early. People with severe sleep apnea using CPAP can have as long a life as the general population. This is true when respiratory diseases are not in the picture.

What are the common comorbidities associated with sleep apnea?

High blood pressure and diabetes are often seen with sleep apnea. They can get worse with sleep apnea. And they raise the chance of heart problems and other health issues.

What are the key steps to prevent complications from sleep apnea?

It’s key to check for sleep apnea regularly, even if you don’t feel sick. Catching it early and treating it on time is important. Using the treatment plan you get, be it CPAP, oral appliances, or changes in how you live, can help you a lot.

Source Links

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  2. https://www.sleepbetterny.com/will-sleep-apnea-affect-your-life-expectancy/
  3. https://toothopiadental.com/what-is-the-life-expectancy-of-someone-with-sleep-apnea/
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/symptoms-causes/syc-20377631
  5. https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/25/3/514
  6. https://www.dechtermoy.com/dental-concerns/sleep-apnea/
  7. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20377636
  8. https://bhdentists.com/life-expectancy-with-treated-sleep-apnea/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2542950/
  10. https://www.bhdentists.com/life-expectancy-with-treated-sleep-apnea/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4602425/
  12. https://mrmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40248-019-0172-9
  13. https://www.cpap.com/blog/untreated-sleep-apnea-affects/
  14. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-dangers-of-uncontrolled-sleep-apnea
  15. https://www.reviveresearch.org/blog/untreated-sleep-apnea-life-expectancy/