Apnea is a disorder that causes you to stop breathing briefly, often while you're asleep. One symptom of this kind of apnea is excessive snoring.
The most common type of apnea is "sleep apnea," which affects both adults and children and can result in as many as 30 breathless episodes per night. Many people with this kind of apnea don't know they have it. Scientifically, any instance of not breathing is considered apnea — whether you're holding your breath or being choked. The Greek root of apnea is apnos, "without breathing," from a-, "not," and pnein, "to breathe."