Hollywood icon Carrie Fisher, renowned for her film role as Princess Leia Organa (later General Leia Organa) in the Star Wars franchise, passed away late last year after suffering a heart attack. The sudden death of the beloved actress and mental health advocate stunned millions, and many people speculated about what could have led to the 60-year old star’s passing. The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office recently released the findings of its investigation and determined that a contributing factor in her death was sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a serious and common condition in which a patient experiences multiple pauses in their breathing, sometimes hundreds of times, during the night. In addition to symptoms like snoring and fatigue, sleep apnea can lead to many other severe health issues and can cause existing conditions to worsen, including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed, particularly in mature women, because the individual who has the problem may not even be aware of it. It’s possible Fisher had no idea she was suffering from this disorder.

Sleep apnea is a serious and dangerous condition. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be experiencing sleep apnea, we encourage you to contact our dentists or another medical or dental professional with experience treating this disorder. Signs that you may have sleep apnea include, but are not limited to:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Morning headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Stress

Simple, effective treatments exist, and you can learn more by talking to our friendly and knowledgeable team. No one should have to risk their lives for a good night’s sleep.