Carrie Fisher died from ‘sleep apnoea and other causes’. What is sleep apnea?

Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher died from sleep apnoea and “other factors”, the Los Angeles County coroner says.

FILE PHOTO: Carrie Fisher poses for cameras as she arrives at the European Premiere of ”Star Wars, The Force Awakens” in Leicester Square, London, December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Paul Hackett/File Photo

Her death certificate said in January that the 60-year-old, best known for her role as Princess Leia, had suffered a cardiac arrest.

But in a statement the LA coroner said the exact cause was unknown.

 What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnoea is a common condition in which a person stops breathing during sleep, either for a few seconds or minutes.

Sleep apnea source: Wikipedia

Sleep apnea, also spelled sleep apnoea, is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep Each pause can last for a few seconds to several minutes and they happen many times a night.  In the most common form, this follows loud snoring. There may be a choking or snorting sound as breathing resumes. As it disrupts normal sleep, those affected may experience sleepiness or feel tired during the day.  In children it may cause problems in school or hyperactivity.

There are three forms of sleep apnea: obstructive (OSA), central (CSA), and a combination of the two called mixed. OSA is the most common form.[1] Risk factors for OSA include being overweight, a family history of the condition, allergies, and enlarged tonsils.[4] In OSA, breathing is interrupted by a blockage of airflow, while in CSA breathing stops due to a lack of effort to breathe. People with sleep apnea may not be aware they have it. In many cases it is first observed by a family member.  Sleep apnea is often diagnosed with an overnight sleep study.  For a diagnosis of sleep apnea, more than five episodes an hour must occur.

Treatment may include lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, breathing devices, and surgery. Lifestyle changes may include avoiding alcohol, losing weight, stopping smoking, and sleeping on their side. Breathing devices include the use of a CPAP machine.  Without treatment sleep apnea may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, obesity, and motor vehicle collisions. / read full article at Wikipedia.