Certain chronic conditions can increase the risk of dying while we sleep.
The reasons why someone can die in their sleep center on three of our most important organs.
“Dying in your sleep is usually related to the heart, lungs or brain“, explained Dr. Milind Sovaniat Nottingham University Hospitals.
When we sleep, we are less likely to respond to the body’s “signals” that indicate something is wrong with these organs.
“When you sleep, you simply cannot react to your own symptomsexplained the Dr. Jack Flyer cardiologist.
Heart and sudden death
The most common cause of sudden nocturnal death is related to the heart.
THE Dr. Sumeet Chugh, Director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Rhythm Center, explains: “sudden cardiac arrest is responsible for 90% of sudden death during sleep“.
People at higher risk of cardiac arrest include those with coronary artery disease, an enlarged heart, or an irregular heartbeat.
22% of these deaths occur between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., while it is more common in women.
Obstructive sleep apnea can play a role in death during sleep.
People with this condition may be more than 2.5 times more likely to experience sudden cardiac death between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. compared to people without obstructive sleep apnea.
However, this condition is often not itself a cause of death at night.
It is usually associated with sudden nocturnal death when another condition worsens, such as a heart problem.
Epilepsy is a common condition affecting the brain in which people experience repeated seizures.
When seizures cannot be fully controlled with epilepsy medication, sudden death is the leading cause of death.
Stroke can also be responsible for sudden nocturnal death.
About 25% of strokes occur during sleep, and conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea can also increase this risk.
How can the risks of sudden death be managed?
Those with medical conditions that may increase their risk of sleep death are advised to speak with their doctor, who can direct them.
For the rest, according to Dr. Chugh, the risk of sudden death is relatively low.
To keep this risk of sudden nighttime death low, doctors recommend monitoring your health, getting enough sleep, exercising and eating a healthy diet.
With information from: iflscience.com