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What’s the Relationship Between Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease?

[caption id="attachment_244047" align="alignnone" width="393"]hand holding a cartoon, pupming heart.

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Are you giving your heart the love that it deserves? If you’re living with untreated sleep apnea, we hate to break it to you, but the answer is no. The inside of your body is a strange place that’s connected in all sorts of surprising ways. The link between sleep apnea and heart disease happens to be one of them.Studies have shown that men with obstructive sleep apnea are 58% more likely to develop congestive heart failure in an eight-year period than men without sleep apnea. Want to know why? Read on to learn more about sleep apnea and heart disease.

The Relationship Between Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease

We all get our blood pressure taken almost every time we step foot into a doctor’s office—because heart health is important and high blood pressure is a common risk factor for heart disease. In fact, high blood pressure is the key link between sleep apnea and heart disease. Here’s how it works:One of the main signs and symptoms of sleep apnea is frequent pauses in breathing. According to Medical News Today, “these gaps in breathing cause blood pressure to go up, because the oxygen level in the body falls and the brain sends signals to the blood vessels to ‘tighten up’ so that oxygen flow to the heart and brain is increased.”Unfortunately, for many people with untreated sleep apnea, the increased blood pressure they experience during sleep can carry over into the daytime even when they’re breathing normally.

illustration of doctor taking patient's blood pressure

How to Treat Sleep Apnea (and High Blood Pressure)

Your heart is basically the MVP of your body, so keeping it healthy throughout your life needs to be a top priority.If we told you that there’s a simple method of treatment that can improve both your sleep health and your heart health, you’d be all over it, right? That’s what we thought.Well, the good news is that this treatment method exists. It’s called CPAP therapy. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is widely considered the gold-standard treatment for sleep apnea, and studies have shown that CPAP therapy also lowers blood pressure.If you love your heart, take care of it. Pay attention to your blood pressure when you go to the doctor, and if you notice any signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, take action by setting up an appointment to discuss this common sleep disorder.