When you think of sleep apnea, you usually think of adults. However, 40% of the people that have apnea are kids because they are overweight, according to National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Sleep apnea can even affect kids. Credit: Wikipedia Commons.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder and can creep up on anyone. According to the Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, strokes are some of the newest and most common signs of sleep apnea. My dad is at risk of one because he has sleep apnea.

People with sleep apnea may be at risk of having a stroke, but not a normal stroke. I’m talking about a sleep stroke. A stroke is when your airways are blocked and it stops oxygen from getting to your brain, which could kill brain cells. The bad thing about sleep stroke is that the person is sleeping when it happens and doesn't realize it.

Some symptoms of sleep apnea are loud snoring with pauses in breathing, day time sleepiness, gasping or choking during sleep, poor judgment, memory loss, high blood pressure, chest pain, obesity and sleep strokes, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

But really the oddest part about sleep apnea is that no one knows how you get it, says the Mayo Clinic website. One way you can get sleep apnea is through family genetics. For example, if your grandmother has sleep apnea your mother may have it also. And you could possibly have it, too.              

My dad’s sleep apnea affected him before he was diagnosed with the problem.  "I was always tired all the time, plus I was always feeling bad," he said. According to the NIH, 91% of people that have sleep apnea won’t even know it

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA), an average person who has sleep apnea can have their throat close at least a 100 times at night, some of them lasting even a minute or more. The throat closes up because when the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much they don’t allow normal breathing.     

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My grandmother says that her best friend and her husband were watching a movie and they fell asleep on the couch. In the morning her husband woke up, but she didn’t – she had died in her sleep. The hospital said that his wife had died of a sleep stroke! She had sleep apnea, and no one knew anything about it. Alex Conn

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  1. I really enjoyed the article. It raised awareness and also gave good facts. You did good research and included personal experience:smile