According to a new study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, sufferers who experience short interruptions in breathing while sleeping are at greater risk of death.
Better Health Victoria defines sleep apnoea as "Sleep apnoea occurs when the walls of the throat come together during sleep, blocking off the airway above the voice box." The condition can lead to a number of health issues, including heart disease and high blood pressure.
Typically, sleep experts will measure how many times the patient stops breathing per hour of sleep to determine the severity of the condition.
"This finding could help doctors better prevent long-term mortality associated with obstructive sleep apnea," says lead study author, Matthew P. Butler, Ph.D.
Now, the new findings suggest that how long the breathing interruptions last could be equally as important. The results found that during the study's decade of follow ups, patients with the shortest apneas were 31 percent more likely to die.
At present, the best treatment is a CPAP machine, an uncomfortable mask worn overnight to help keep airways open although some surgeries such as removing tonsils can help increase the gap in the throat.
It's thought this new research can help your GP provide better medical attention and decrease the risk of life-threatening consequences.
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