Sleep apnoea, a medical condition that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted while they sleep, made headlines this summer when it was announced that the disorder was a contributing factor in actor and writer Carrie Fisher's death. Though there were also drug-related factors involved in the icon’s passing, the news briefly put the underdiagnosed condition in the spotlight.

According to Dr Rochelle Goldberg, news connecting a celebrity’s death to a common condition like sleep apnoea often makes people question if they might have it, too. But sleep apnoea isn't something that should only receive attention when a well-known person is found to have it. Despite what you may have heard about the condition, it affects men and women of all ages and weights—and it’s potentially life-threatening.

When you stop breathing, even if it’s just for a moment, your body goes into emergency mode to keep you alive: your adrenal glands secrete adrenaline, your blood pressure spikes, and your heart rate increases. If this happens regularly while you sleep, it can increase your risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, heart attack and stroke, Goldberg says.

If you’re concerned that you might have sleep apnoea, take a few moments to consider if you identify with any of the symptoms below. If you do, make an appointment with a physician for a professional diagnosis.