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The Critical Relationship Between Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease

The Critical Relationship Between Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease

The American Heart Association states: “The evidence is strong for the relationship between sleep apnea and hypertension and cardiovascular disease generally...” The real question is: how deeply intertwined are sleep apnea and heart disease? According to the National Sleep Foundation, the relationship is evolving rapidly.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that often results in pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. These pauses can last for a few seconds or minutes and can happen up to 30 times in an hour<can occur more often than that. Website states “pauses in breathing five to 30 times per hour or more”. Once regular breathing resumes, you may make a snorting or choking sound that is similar to a loud and sudden snore. One of the primary problems with sleep apnea is that it pulls you from a deep and restful sleep and puts you into lighter sleep that offers little rest, resulting in daytime fatigue and sleepiness.

Sufferers often do not realize they suffer from sleep apnea until a partner alerts them about their unusual snoring or they visit their physician to discuss their fatigue and other issues.

The most common type of sleep apnea -- obstructive sleep apnea -- occurs when you try to breathe during sleep and the airway collapses or becomes blocked. While this type of sleep apnea is most common among those carrying extra weight, it can happen to anyone.

sleep apnea heart disease snoring

What Is Heart Disease?

Heart disease describes a range of conditions that affect the heart. It can include blood vessel diseases such as coronary artery disease, heart rhythm problems, high blood pressure (hypertension) and congenital heart defects, among others.

sleep apnea and heart disease

What Is the Relationship Between Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease?

Those with hypertension have a higher prevalence of sleep apnea than those without high blood pressure. Plus, if you suffer from sleep apnea, there is a greater chance you’ll develop hypertension in the future.

What Should You Do If You Suspect You Have Sleep Apnea?

If you believe you have sleep apnea, it is important that you and your health professional work toward finding a solution. Continuing sleep disruptions can cause hypoxia (or an oxygen deficiency), changes in carbon dioxide levels and increased markers of inflammation that put you at risk for heart disease and possibly heart failure.

A few of the most common treatments for sleep apnea include:

  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). This common treatment for sleep apnea involves wearing a mask over the mouth and nose during sleep while a connected machine keeps the airway open. This equipment prevents oxygen levels from periodically lowering, which causes spikes in blood pressure.
  • Change Your Lifestyle. If you lead a less-than-active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly can keep you in shape, which can aid in treating sleep apnea.

sleep apnea mask

Fully Commit to Your Sleep Apnea Treatment

There is nothing more important than your health and well-being. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you can turn it around with the right approach. Fully commit to a nutrition and exercise plan, and always keep your CPAP mask clean, sanitized, and ready for your next night’s sleep with a SoClean. <should there be 2 links to the same website?