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Experts: Using computer can cause 'email apnea'

Tuesday - 11/19/2013, 11:28am  ET

keyboard computer (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)
Like sleep apnea, a lack of oxygen and breathing during email apnea prompt a ''fight or flight'' response. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)

WASHINGTON - Stress at the office might be harming you more than you realize.

According to researchers, emailing and typing on the computer throughout the day can lead to long pauses in breathing, similar to issues prompted by the condition known as sleep apnea.

The new technology-driven ailment has been dubbed email apnea.

"If people are in a stressful situation, perhaps having to deal with some stressful communication, they might end up holding their breath," said Edward Grandi, executive director of the American Sleep Apnea Association.

"It's not just email, it's email and texting," he says.

Like sleep apnea, a lack of oxygen and breathing during email apnea prompt a "fight or flight" response from the body, causing a stress reaction that can lead to health issues including higher blood pressure.

The key difference - there is a clear cure for email apnea.

Grandi urges anyone experiencing breathing difficulties during computer use to calm down, breath and possibly step away for a moment.

"Holding your breath is generally not a good thing, it causes tension everywhere," Grandi says.

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