What Happens When You Stop Breathing?

When a person stops breathing, he becomes at risk for heart problems and possible brain injury due to the lack of oxygen in the blood, according to Healthline. Heart problems may occur if the body's blood pressure drops suddenly, resulting in decreased blood oxygen levels.

There is a wide range of treatments for apnea, the medical term for stopped or slowed breathing, including surgery and weight loss. These treatments are specific to the cause of apnea, which can affect people of all ages, explains Healthline. Those causes include intracerebral hemorrhage, cardiogenic shock, a head injury, choking in people over the age of 1, seizures, pulmonary embolism, pulmonary edema, pneumothorax, meningitis and a heart attack.

There are different types of apnea, and they most commonly occur while the individual is sleeping. There are also many reasons for a person to stop breathing, especially in his sleep, notes Healthline. Breathing stops or is slowed while a person is asleep, and the condition is called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea may be the reason an individual develops chronic or loud snoring; choking or gasping while sleeping; daytime fatigue; headaches; difficulty concentrating; memory problems; dry mouth; frequent urinating at night; or sore throat upon waking.