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Tulane Doctors ~ Heart & Vascular Institute ~ Sleep Apnea

male asleep with sleep apnea mask

Sleep Apnea is a temporary lapse in breathing while asleep. Sleep apnea can occur anywhere from 5 to over 30 times over the course of an hour and leads to loss of sleep, increased risk of arrhythmia, heart attack and stroke. Most people think that snoring is a nighttime annoyance, but few consider that it could be potentially life threatening.

While regular snoring is a steady breathing in and out, the snores of a person with sleep apnea are more irregular and include loud gasps for air and periods of no sound. People with sleep apnea may feel tired and groggy from lack of uninterrupted sleep.

The most common form of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, is caused by weight pushing down on airways and is associated with obesity. Smoking and alcohol consumption can also lead to sleep apnea. Leading a healthier lifestyle by losing weight and giving up alcohol and cigarettes can often eliminate sleep apnea.