June 17, 2017

"Carrie Fisher died from sleep apnea..."

"... and a combination of other factors, but investigators haven’t been able to pinpoint an exact cause, coroner’s officials said Friday."

You can die from sleep apnea?! "Sleep Apnea May Boost Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death/Study findings bolster suspected link between sleep disorder and heart-related death."

33 comments:

Mike Sylwester said...

I suffered from apnea for many years. I (and my wife) knew it without my being diagnosed. I did not want to spend the money to get diagnosed and to buy the CPAP equipment.

About five years ago I got diagnosed and then began sleeping with a CPAP. This is the best thing I ever have done for my health and well-being.

I sleep much better. I no longer feel sleepy in the afternoons.

I no longer struggle to stay awake while driving a car. I feel lucky that I never fell asleep at the wheel and caused a horrible accident.

Anyone who feels they suffer from apnea should get treatment as soon as possible.

Michael K said...

She was a long term druggie.

Too bad.

Kate said...

Her bipolar medication was a factor. My brother died from his bipolar cocktail, too. It makes me weep. We have to do a better job in this country. Treating mental illness should not be so deadly.

Curious George said...

"You can die from sleep apnea?!"

Sure can. It was a factor in Ex-Packer (and Eagle) Reggie White's death.

rhhardin said...

This spared the screaming passengers in her car.

Eleanor said...

Did she die in her sleep? I thought she was on a plane?

Michael K said...

"Treating mental illness should not be so deadly."

This country lost its way on mental illness years ago.

Read "My Brother, Ron if you want the sad story.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

You can die from sleep apnea?!

Uh... yeah. Hello. You can die from suffocation too.

A-pnea = "without breath".

epador said...

Mike S: congratulations for sticking with it. About 75% of folks who start CPAP stop using it regularly after 18-24 months, because it is a hassle, and has some annoying effects, and they slip back into their previous poor health. Some come around and get back on track, but too many just won't stick with it. Some use sedatives to try to sleep better, which only intensifies the apnea episodes.

End result: diabetes, hypertension, depression, and cardiovascular deaths from heart attack or stroke if not from falling asleep at the wheel.

If you snore, people see you gasping or stop breathing when you sleep, wake up with headaches or feeling poorly, fall asleep easily during the day, have high blood pressure and are overweight, your risk for sleep apnea is high. If your palate and uvula lie low in the back of your throat, or if you have hypermobility (double jointed) you may also be at increased risk for this problem. If you have OSA and treat it, you will have a better time trying to lose weight, treat depression, PTSD, anxiety, hypertension, diabetes, etc.

With OSA, its as if someone is smothering you with a pillow for 30-90 seconds repeatedly all night. Your stress hormones are abnormally high due to this. Thus the adverse effects on metabolic and psychologic problems.

damikesc said...

Yes. One of my favorite pod-casters, Ryan Davis of Giant Bomb, died of apnea right after his honeymoon ended.

Etienne said...

She should have been put in a mental asylum in the 70's.

I'm not saying she couldn't go out on day trips.

But in the end, she actually lived a long time free-ranging. I only feel sorry for her mother. I can't believe she married such mental cases.

You have to know that DNA sticks more than sperm.

Etienne said...

apnea comes from being obese. If you aren't obese, then you have 1 chance in a million of getting it.

Look at people with a pot belly and fat faces. They all have apnea at some level.

Carrie was obese, but she wasn't dragging obese.

They have excellent tools for apnea. Just wear it when you sleep. My doctor sleeps with a device, and it leaves him refreshed for the day. Before he was dragging tired.

He's not dragging obese, but he is a fat boy :-)

Ron said...

I do wish they came up with a better approach to treating it. As was said, most people quit on the current methods.

Yancey Ward said...

My mother suffers from sleep apnea and refuses to get a CPAP. As a retired RN, she is well aware of the risks of not getting one, but then she also denies that she suffers from sleep apnea all that much.

Larry J said...

Heavier than I need to be but not obese, I've needed a CPAP for over 8 years. My resting heart rate was getting slower the whole time (39 when wake & 31 while asleep). I became a cyborg two weeks ago with a pacemaker implant. As a result, I'm sleeping better now and feel more alert.

rp said...

There is a better way of treating sleep apnea, but the medication long has been off-patent and you are not going to see it advertised on TV -- so there you are. Two sleep researchers kept the approach tied up in the patent courts for a decade, but then, after one of them won, the approach never was advertised and the much of the medical data is from cats, dogs, etc. Look it up yourself. Buspirone, with the dose raised slowly (month by month) enhances overnight pontine/ diaphragmatic oxygenation. No, I do not own any stock in buspirone. I just find it intriguing the way one approach in medicine (eg, CPAP) gets pushed versus other approaches in medicine.

Paul J said...

No, plenty of thin people have it too. You are just more likely if obese.

traditionalguy said...

Age does funny things, one of which is your autonomic systems get out of synch. We take breathing in and out for granted. No effort needed.

But around 65 the breathing is not so automatic anymore. And while asleep it rests a lot like a car that saves gas while stopped at a light , until the autonomic system kicks back in. If that happens a 80 times an hour while asleep you never get rest. This is because the system restarts itself by a sudden wake up shock that literally whacks the body back into synch .

The bad part is getting the heart beat Rythm shocked out of synch when the wake up shocks happen. That is called Atrial Fibrulation. And it leads to backed up blood clotting in the Atrium oh the heart. When that clot sends small clots out, you can have an aortic blockage called The Widow Maker Clot. Unless you are in the OR when it hits, you are dead in 15 minutes.

Apnea is cured by sleeping with a mask that applies continuous air pressure from outside the body. Have fun getting older.

Scott said...

Back when Cass Elliot died, the CPAP therapy hadn't been invented.

Or maybe it really was a ham sandwich.

MountainMan said...

I have been on a CPAP machine for about a month. I am overweight, but not considered obese. I have suffered from sleep apnea for some time. My doctor made me go through the whole process - at home monitor, in-hospital sleep study, then consultation with a pulmonary sleep specialist. I can say so far that I love it. I don't find it that difficult sleeping with the nasal mask as I am sleeping better now than I have in years. I really did not know how bad off I was. I can already function all day without drowsiness, which is just great.

My CPAP machine is quite sophisticated. The operating parameters were programmed in by a technician based on doctor instructions from the data in the sleep study; I can't change them. It has a cellular card built in and all my data is sent to a web site after I get up in the morning. In a little while I can login to a secure website and get a complete report on my sleep and an overall score I can track. This helped me correct some problems early on with leakage and loss of pressure and I get 98+% scores almost every day. This data is also reviewed by my pulmonary doctor. Insurance is paying for all this (after deductibles and co-pays) but only if I meet minimal usage requirements (hours/day and days/week), which is satisfied by the data upload. So far I am very pleased with this.

Dave in Tucson said...

> Carrie Fisher died from sleep apnea...

Yeah, in the same way Jim Morrison died of a heart attack. Overdose isn't the only way drugs kill.

LordSomber said...

These aren't the drugs you're looking for.

William said...

There's also that dry mouth thing. It's curable with Biotene products, but it's a bother. Also, you can't drink anything after 8 pm and expect to sleep through the night. Old age has its challenges, but you get to cash those social security and annuity checks. That makes it all worthwhile.

HT said...

I think the coroner's report said sleep apnea contributed to her death, as did heart disease, as did the drugs.

Someone said if you think you have sleep apnea (and there are two kinds, central and obstructive), get treated. First, get tested, that is, if you want insurance to pay for treatment.

cyrus83 said...

Sure it can be fatal if it's the central kind of sleep apnea, where the brain's automatic regulation of breathing becomes dysfunctional and people stop breathing. Usually the loss of oxygen will jump start things again.

My GP recommended getting tested some years ago since I met at least a couple of the warning signs and sure enough the doctors found a severe case and put me on a machine. It's been about 3 years now of regular use, and it has eliminated the constant state of exhaustion I felt for years and I can now actually watch a performance without dozing off through a good chunk of it.

Aside from the initial high cost of the machine (usually $1000 - $2000), the annual cost of supplies and doctor's visits usually only runs about $400. The huge quality of life improvement is well worth it.

Tyrone Workman said...

Overweight is a risk factor, but by no means do you have to be overweight to be stricken.

Paul J said...

Mountain Man said: "My CPAP machine is quite sophisticated. The operating parameters were programmed in by a technician based on doctor instructions from the data in the sleep study; I can't change them."

Sure you can. Just have to find the clinician's manual online. Many people tweak their own parameters for optimization. You are the boss, the physician is the employee.

MikeR said...

When I was diagnosed for my "moderately severe" sleep apnea, the sleep study results said that I repeatedly didn't breath for up to a minute. Scary as anything. That may not kill someone, but it sure isn't good for you. After a while, you wear out.

MikeR said...

To MountainMan: My CPAP device changed my life completely. Literally a life-saver, but also in terms of my quality of life. I no longer feel sick and exhausted all the time.

cyrus83 said...

Be wary of changing the settings the doctor has prescribed. Many insurance companies require a download/report from the machine to check on compliance before they'll cover things, and it can be problematic if it doesn't match the script on file. And at least in this red-tape happy state, I have to see the doctor at least once a year to renew the prescription in order for any CPAP store to sell supplies to me, regardless of insurance.

PatHMV said...

My wife tells me that there are many ways I might die from sleep apnea... In particular, had I not gotten help in the form of a CPAP machine, she might have killed me!

Char Char Binks said...

Yes, you can die from not breathing.

mockturtle said...

Autopsy report shows both heroin and Ecstasy in her system.