How this sleep disorder can damage your arteries

It's the breathtaking disease that can stop your heart cold -- and you probably don't even know you have it, because sleep apnea strikes when you're fast asleep.

You literally lay there in bed and STOP BREATHING for 20, 30, 40 seconds or more at a time -- hundreds of times a night -- and never even know it's happening because you never wake up.

Bad news? You bet it's bad news -- and it's time to wake up and smell the risk, because this condition can leave your arteries stiffer than the mattress in a cheap motel.

In one new study, researchers compared normal arteries to those of diabetics and apnea patients, and found that people with either disease had the same level of stiffness -- and yes, they were much stiffer than the normal arteries.

The stiffer the arteries, the higher the risk -- especially to your heart, which is trying to pump blood through those brick walls. Eventually, it just gives up and you drop dead.

It's like getting one of the worst risk factors of diabetes without the actual diabetes -- and goes a long way toward explaining why apnea patients are already known to have big-time heart risks.

Of course, diabetes is no picnic for the heart either. And that's not all diabetics and apnea patients have in common. Both conditions are usually kicked off by pretty much the same risk factors, starting with obesity.

That's why apnea patients who don't have diabetes are usually just apnea patients who don't have diabetes YET -- and vice-versa. And that's why both apnea patients and diabetics share a higher risk of any number of other serious health problems, from stroke to dementia.

So whether you're a diabetic who doesn't have apnea -- yet -- or an apnea patient who doesn't have diabetes -- yet -- the answer here is one in the same, and that's to lose the weight before you lose your life.

Want to know how NOT to lose that weight? Keep reading!