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Your Sleep Apnea Questions Answered

Updated on November 10, 2011

Many Americans had never heard of sleep apnea until they were shocked by the sudden death of ex-pro football star Reggie White the day after Christmas, of 2004. Reports began trickling, and then flooding in that White had died from sleep apnea. Soon, both fans, and people who did not know anything about football wanted to know everything they could about this strange sleeping disorder that they had never heard about.

What is Sleep Apnea?

So what is sleep apnea anyway? Sleep apnea is when a person stops breathing during sleep, and then starts again. If this happens five times or less during sleep, that is generally not considered sleep apnea. If it happens over five times per sleeping session, and the cessation of breathing lasts around ten seconds each time, that would be something to be concerned about.

What is Sleep Apnea Caused By

Briefly, sleep apnea is when a person's breathing is stopped during sleep due to a blockage of the air passage in the throat. That blockage is usually caused by the tongue or the tonsils. The person will suddenly wake up, begin to breathe again, and then fall back asleep. This is called an Apnea Event. There are three different forms of sleep apnea.


OSA, as mentioned above, is the most common form of this deadly sleeping disorder.


This is a less common form of sleep apnea that is caused when the brain fails to communicate to the body the necessity to breathe.


As you would assume, this is a mixture of the two forms of sleep apnea mentioned above, and the treatment would be the same as for the OSA.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

As facts about sleep apnea began to come out after Reggie White's death, many people who snore began to fear that they had the disorder. This is because one of the major signs of sleep apnea is loud snoring. However, not everybody who snores has the disorder, and not everybody with the disorder, snores.

Snoring by itself is not a danger sign, but loud snoring with episodes of silence that last ten seconds, could be cause for concern. Also, because people with this disorder get such poor sleep at night, they are fatigued during the day. Anybody can have a bad night's sleep and be tired the next day, but if it is a constant condition, it is something that needs to be looked into. Bear in mind that to this day, many doctors do not know all they should about this disorder. If you have any concerns it is in your best interest to search the Sleep Disorder Foundation for a doctor.


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    • point2make profile image

      point2make 6 years ago

      This is an excellent hub. I appreciate the information you shared. It appears, these days, many people are aware and concerned about this condition. Some good information and common sense can always help and if people are overly concerned, as you say, they should search out a trained doctor. voted this hub up!