TUESDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- Sleep apnea raises the risk of sudden cardiac death, according to a long-term study that strengthens a link doctors have suspected.
"The presence and severity of sleep apnea are associated with a significantly increased risk of sudden cardiac death," said study leader Dr. Apoor Gami, a cardiac electrophysiologist at Midwest Heart Specialists-Advocate Medical Group in Elmhurst, Ill.
The new research is published online June 11 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Sleep apnea -- in which a person stops breathing frequently during sleep -- affects about 12 million American adults, although many are not diagnosed. The diagnosis is made after sleep tests determine that a person stops breathing for 10 seconds or more at least five times hourly while sleeping.
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