This often-unrecognized sleep disorder raises your risk of heart disease as well as depression.
Loud snoring, choking sounds, and scary pauses in breathing during sleep are classic signs of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that affects about one in 12 Americans. Often, people don’t notice these symptoms themselves but only learn about them from a bed partner or family member.
Left untreated, the condition can have serious health consequences. In people with sleep apnea, soft tissue at the back of the throat temporarily blocks the airway during sleep. The resulting pauses in breathing (apneas) occur repeatedly throughout the night, sometimes up to 100 times an hour.
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About the Author
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
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