Besides depriving the body of deep (restorative) sleep and REM (dream) sleep, chronic sleep apnea is a potentially fatal condition. But you may be wondering how exactly sleep apnea is dangerous, even fatal.
During the night as the body is deprived of oxygen our heart rate slows down. During an apneic episode precisely when the body has run dangerously low on oxygen it sends off the alarm that it needs more oxygen and your heart begins to beat rapidly. Throughout the night this may reoccur over 100 times or more an hour. The constant slowing and speeding up of our heart rate puts a tremendous amount of stress on it.
A diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is determined by a Board Certified Sleep Physcian that has evaluated an overnight sleep study done for the patient.
Normal apneic events: 0-4 per hour.
Mild apneic events: 5-14 per hour.
Moderate apneic events: 15-29 per hour.
Severe apneic events: 30 or more per hour.