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In the largest study of its kind, Mayo Clinic researchers found that people who have obstructive sleep apnea – when a person stops breathing for periods during sleep – have a greater risk of sudden cardiac death. Senior author of the study, Mayo Clinic cardiologist Virend Somers, M.D., Ph.D., says, “Your risk of sudden death increases almost two-fold, particularly if you stopped breathing more than 20 times per hour of sleep and if you had severe falls in oxygen saturation during sleep.”
The study was published online today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. More than 12 million American adults suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, and many of them are undiagnosed, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).
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Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Somers are available in the downloads