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The rising health threat endangering millions

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Snoring and making breathing noises while you sleep may seem like minor annoyances. But they can signal life-threatening illness on the horizon.

A report from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine shows that more than 25 million Americans now suffer from sleep apnea — breathing difficulties during sleep that interrupt your ability to inhale and exhale while increasing your risk for heart problems, diabetes, stroke, depression and high blood pressure.

“Obstructive sleep apnea is destroying the health of millions of Americans, and the problem has only gotten worse over the last two decades,” says Timothy Morgenthaler, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and a national spokesperson for the Healthy Sleep Awareness Project (a joint effort by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine). “The effective treatment of sleep apnea is one of the keys to success as our nation attempts to reduce health care spending and improve chronic disease management.”

The most common indications that you suffer from sleep apnea include choking, snoring, gasping, or silent breathing pauses during sleep. Losing weight can reduce your risk of apnea. Many people with apnea use a positive airway pressure device that gently blows air into the nose and mouth while they sleep.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sleep Research Society and other partners in the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project recommend that if you suffer any of the symptoms or signs of sleep apnea you should visit this website for more information about the problem.

If you believe you suffer from sleep apnea, you should also visit a doctor to see if it is impairing your health.

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