Latest Issue of Science News


News

Sleep apnea could signal greater danger

The nighttime breathing disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea doubles a person's risk of stroke or death, a new study suggests.

In this form of apnea, a person's breathing halts for at least 10 seconds at a time during sleep, typically when relaxed muscle or fatty tissue in the throat covers the windpipe. The resulting interruptions in oxygen flow to the brain and heart cause the lungs to work harder, finally tripping a fight-or-flight reflex that arouses the sleeper just enough to catch his or her breath. The outcome disrupts sleep and can harm the heart.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

X
This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.