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Sleep Apnea: 9 Health Concerns Rick Perry Should Watch Out For

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Rick Perry's now-famous "Oops" moment during a 2011 debate was likely the result of a long-undiagnosed case of sleep apnea, according to a new book written by Texas Tribune correspondent Jay Root about his time covering the Texas governor's presidential campaign.

Root says that Perry suffered from insomnia for weeks leading up to the Republican debate in Rochester, Mich., according to Reuters.

"After conducting overnight tests on Perry, they produced a rather startling diagnosis: He had sleep apnea, and it had gone undetected for years, probably decades," Root wrote.

Sleep apnea occurs when throat muscles relax, thereby collapsing the airways and resulting in short periods of disruptions in the breath during sleep. These pauses in breathing can occur 30 times or more an hour, and often disturb deep sleep, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, leaving people with sleep apnea overly tired in the morning.

A number of studies have shown that memory gets a boost when we hit the hay -- and that skimping on sleep has the opposite effect.

But sleep apnea in particular may have an effect on long-term brain power. A 2008 study found a link between sleep apnea and tissue loss in memory-storing areas of the brain, according to Life's Little Mysteries, and a 2011 study suggested, at least among women, that sleep apnea upped the risk of developing dementia later in life.

Reuters reports that Perry has since been given a machine to help his breathing during the night -- we can only assume a CPAP machine although the article doesn't say. And that's a good thing -- because not only is sleep apnea now to blame for campaign-derailing gaffes, it's linked with a host of serious health concerns that Perry and the other 18 million American adults with sleep apnea should watch out for.

Health Concerns Linked With Sleep Apnea
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Around the Web

Sleep apnea - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What Is Sleep Apnea? - NHLBI, NIH

What Is Sleep Apnea? Causes, Risk Factors, and Effects

American Sleep Apnea Association

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