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Sleep Apnea

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Also called: Also called: Sleep-disordered breathing

Sleep apnea is a common disorder that can be serious. In sleep apnea, your breathing stops or gets very shallow. Each pause in breathing typically lasts 10 to 20 seconds or more. These pauses can occur 20 to 30 times or more an hour.

The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea. That means you are unable to get enough air through your mouth and nose into your lungs. When that happens, the amount of oxygen in your blood may drop. Normal breaths resume with a snort or choking sound. People with sleep apnea often snore loudly. However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.

When your sleep is interrupted throughout the night, you can be drowsy during the day. People with sleep apnea are at higher risk for car crashes, work-related accidents and other medical problems. If you have it, it is important to get treatment.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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The primary NIH organization for research on Sleep Apnea is the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute -

Sleep Apnea - Multiple Languages -

Date last updated: October 27 2008
Topic last reviewed: May 06 2008