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Sleep Apnea - How It Can Increase The Risk Of Heart Disease?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Manish Sahu 90% (107 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Pulmonary Medicine
Pulmonologist, Noida  •  9 years experience
Sleep Apnea - How It Can Increase The Risk Of Heart Disease?

Getting a good night’s sleep is needed not only to remove dark circles but to improve your overall health as well. Ideally, adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. This helps you stay physically and mentally healthy. However, getting a good night’s sleep is easier said than done, as sleep apnea is one of the factors that could affect the quality of your sleep. This can cause a number of health issues including heart disease.

What is sleep apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that can make your breathing start and stop repeatedly while you are asleep. These pauses can range from 5 times an hour to 30 times in one hour. Waking up tired after a long sleep and snoring are characteristic symptoms of this condition. This can be annoying for others, but for you, it could be life-threatening. When your breathing stops; your airways get blocked.

This is characteristic of obstructive sleep apnea, as every time this happens, you wake up. This can increase the risk of high blood pressure. High blood pressure, in turn, can cause arrhythmia, heart failure, and strokes. This can increase the risk of a fatal heart attack by up to 5 times.

Heart disease and central sleep apnea have a cyclic relationship. In this case, heart disease causes the person to retain water and salts. At night, this excess fluid can enter the lungs making the person wake up feeling short of breath. This is not necessarily because the airways get blocked but because the brain does not send the diaphragm a signal to expand and contract. This is not as common as obstructive sleep apnea.

Reducing your risk of heart disease caused by sleep apnea
There are ways to treat sleep apnea so as to reduce the chances of heart diseases. To treat it, it must first be diagnosed. Thus, if your roommate notices you snoring, consult a doctor immediately. For a diagnosis, you will need to undergo a sleep study. This involves staying overnight in the hospital where they will monitor your sleep. Treatment for sleep apnea is known as continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP.

This form of treatment involves wearing a mask that regulates the air pressure as you breathe thus ensuring that the air passages do not close down. In case of obstructive sleep apnea, losing weight if you are obese, can also help treat the condition and keep the airways open.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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