Heart Disease and Sleep Apnea are a Dangerous Combination

heart-health-and-sleep-apneaSleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are common in patients with cardiovascular disease such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and atrial fibrillation. A person suffering from cardiovascular disease is two-to-three times more likely to have sleep apnea, according to the Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Disease Study conducted by The American Heart Association.

According to the study, sleep apnea can lead to or worsen heart disease. Apneas, or periods when breathing ceases during sleep, causes oxygen levels to drop and triggers a “fight or flight” response in your body which in turn causes your blood vessels to constrict and blood pressure to spike.  These repetitive periods of decreased oxygen, decreased blood flow, and increased blood pressure put stress on the cardiovascular system at night.  Even worse, the faster heart rates and high blood pressure carries over during the day for patients with OSA. 83% of patients with drug-resistant high blood pressure also have sleep apnea.

The side effects of sleep apnea are dangerous on their own, but they can be fatal to someone with cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, 76% of males with congestive heart failure also have sleep apnea.  If left untreated, they are at risk every time they fall asleep of negatively affecting their disease, or worse!

Patients with existing heart disease should be concerned if they also have OSA symptoms such as obesity, snoring, daytime sleepiness and morning headaches.  If patients report symptoms they need a sleep test to determine diagnose OSA and a treatment plan.

There are multiple treatment options for OSA. These treatments can restore healthy sleep and reduce the stress on their cardiovascular system.  Research has shown that treatment can reduce blood pressure slow the disease process. Learn more about OSA, sleep testing and treatment options at millenniumsleeplab.com.

 

According to the National Sleep Foundation https://sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/sleep-apnea-and-heart-disease

The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology Foundation http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=1139136

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