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Beware of sleep apnea

Severe sleep apnea increases by 46 percent the risk of premature death, according to a new U.S. study.

Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder characterized by a collapse of the upper airway while a person sleeps. The loud snoring can be a symptom, but showing the difference are a series of brief interruptions in breathing during sleep.

The team of Naresh Punjabi of Johns Hopkins University, and his team studied 6,400 men and women at an interval of eight years. Those who began with severe sleep apnea were found to be 46 percent more likely to die from any cause beyond the age, sex, race, weight or smoking, according to the authors tell in the journal PLoS Medicine. In addition, men from 40 to 70 years with severe respiratory disorder were twice as likely to die from any cause than men of similar age but without the respiratory problem.

According to another study by Spanish experts and collected in the book "Sleep Medicine" the most common sleep disorder is insomnia (20% of the population), followed by sleep apnea syndrome, who suffer from 3 to 5% of people aged between 40 and 60.


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