At the scene of many unexpected deaths where people simply go to sleep and never wake up you will often find the usual culprits- heart attack, heart disease, and stroke– but the lesser mentioned catalysts of snoring and sleep apnea often play a role and give future warning to a preventable untimely end.
Snoring has often been implicated in higher profile deaths of public figures like rapper Lil’ Peep, who died at 21, and Carrie Fischer aka “Princess Leia” from Star Wars, along with a history of heavy narcotics use. But while you might expect people who use drugs heavily to be in greater danger due to stopping breathing during sleep, this latest info regarding young male athletes who play football might come as a surprise.
The European Lung Foundation released data from a sleep test administered to male athletes involved in collision sports such as rugby or American-style football ages 18 – 19 designed to explore the extent of of Sleep Deprived Breathing (SDB).
Results showed that even in such a young group of active athletes their rates of SDB were higher than middle-aged men who did not play sports among the same general population. This discovery has also supports why so many athletes in these sports, who have high Body Mass Index (BMI) measurements and thicker-than-average neck measurements seem to be the most likely candidates to suffer some type of early death due to heart complications- often believed to be related to sleep apnea and snoring.
Study of young athletes suggests snoring and sleep apnea are linked to sudden cardiac death
Due to the mechanics of obstructive sleep apnea and heavy snoring, greater mass around the neck tends to contribute to blocking of the airway, when the chin and neck slide back and block normal breathing for extended periods of time.
These athletes have demonstrated higher pulse rates and lower oxygen levels throughout the night, which puts them at greater risk to heart abnormalities.
One such, American football Hall of Fame defensive lineman Reggie White died from complications due to fatal cardiac arryhthmia, sarcoidosis, and potentially sleep apnea. When he was found perished, his CPAP lay by his bedside, unused that evening. A continuous positive air pressure device (CPAP) is usually prescribed to people with sleep apnea by a doctor, but over half report not using it due to discomfort or inconvenience.
What can we do to prevent high-risk athletes from snoring and sleep apnea related deaths?
My conclusion: from the available evidence is that footballers show a propensity for potential heart problems at a young age, which are then manifest and become a serious issue once they retire in their late 30s and then turn 40.
During retirement, they are not exerting themselves the way they did in Spring Training or in a full season of professional football, and the inactivity on their bodies also likely becomes a factor.
Why Modern Day “Fat Acceptance” is Causing Unnecessary and premature death
While it’s become commonplace in today’s medical establishment to simply give snorers and sleep apnea patients a CPAP. This of course ignores getting to the root of the problem: higher BMI, higher weight, and being overweight are all major risk factors that need to be addressed with exercise, diet, and quality sleep as well.
Harvard doctors have estimated that the majority of sleep apnea related deaths would disappear if people would lose 10% of their body weight. For many ex-footballers, they have a few pounds they could stand to shed, just as many people do.
A North Carolina woman recently suffered a stroke in which doctors said was directly related to her snoring and sleep apnea– and the fact that she weighed over 300 pounds.
At this point the NIH recommends snoring and sleep apnea patients improve their general health and well-being, as well as consider using oral appliances such as CPAP and stop snoring devices like the ones recommended on Copeministries.org.