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ANCHOR LEAD:Sleep apnea isn’t just annoying, it could kill you, Elizabeth Tracey reports.

Sleep apnea, often manifest as snoring, has been associated with a host of problems such as daytime sleepiness and  a higher rate of accidents, but now a Johns Hopkins study led by Naresh Punjabi has shown the condition may cause death.

PUNJABI:  We’ve been following about 6000 individuals across the United States.  The goal of the study was to look at the occurrence of cardiovascular events such as stroke, heart attacks and development of high blood pressure, and also look at deaths.  Over the 15 years that have been completed, we found that those with sleep apnea seem to have a higher probability of death than those that do not.  Sleep apnea is, in fact, associated with mortality, independently of other factors that could contribute to mortality such as obesity, age, sex, and other medical problems.          :32

Punjabi found a two-fold increased risk of death among men who had sleep apnea.  Further study will be necessary to determine if treatment reduces the risk.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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