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Sleep Apnea Can Kill You – Severe Sleep Apnea Increases Overall Mortality

Posted Apr 26 2010 4:46am

 The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute estimates that 12 million adults in the U.S. have sleep apnea.  Unfortunately most people with sleep apnea are unaware – undiagnosed and untreated. 

 People with sleep apnea stop breathing while they are sleeping.  In severe sleep apnea a person’s airway is blocked and they stop breathing for 20 to 30 seconds and this causes the person to wake up abruptly.  Other signs and symptoms of sleep apnea included: excessive snoring, waking up with a headache, waking up and still feeling tired, and excessive daytime fatigue.

Sleep apnea does not permit the body to rest and instead causes stress on the heart.  High blood pressure is very common in people with sleep apnea and the risk of heart attack and stroke is higher in people with sleep apnea.

 A recent study from John Hopkins University of 6,400 middle-aged men and women over 8 years found that people with major sleep apnea were 46% more likely to die from any cause.  People with mild sleep apnea were not at a higher risk.

The most effective treatments for sleep apnea are Weight loss (if overweight)
Nasal CPAP mask (keeps the airways open during sleep and allows normal breathing)
Surgery (may include tonsil removal)
Mouth guard

 If you suspect you have sleep apnea you should talk to your healthcare provider about having a sleep study.  With proper treatment your risk for heart disease and strokes can be reduced and blood pressure normalized.

If you are looking for more information about health and wellness and preventing heart disease, stroke and diabetes visit

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