A recent study on the sleeping habits of epilepsy patients has revealed that they are prone to be at an increased risk of sudden death if they sleep on their chest. The findings also conclude that the event is more likely to occur in cases of younger patients who are under the age of 40 years. Although no explanation in support of the case being more fatal for younger patients has been proposed, researchers have offered a hypothetical reason for the same. Epilepsy patients are advised to sleep either on their back or their side.
Several cases have been recorded that prove that death while sleeping is a common type of death in epilepsy patients. An autopsy after the event often revealed that there was no structural, or toxicological reasons have been associated with the death. In fact, most of the times, the death was claimed to have occurred due to unknown circumstances. This was the motivation for researchers from the University of Chicago to study the relation between sleeping patterns and death in epilepsy patients.
As researchers examined several previous cases, they focused their attention on finding out if there is a direct cause-and-effect relationship between sudden death and sleeping positions. The study has been authored by MD Dr. James Tao. He said that the research proves that people sleeping in prone position are more likely to die while sleeping if they suffer from epilepsy. He further stated that people below 40 years of age are more likely to be affected this way.
Although the study could not understand a connection of the death form with the age of patients, Dr. Tao explained that this could be because younger people are commonly single. They do not have anyone to report in case of an attack. He also recommended the use of regular alarms or special apps to detect seizures as potential tools to help report seizures.