While obstructive sleep apnea might only seem like a minor inconvenience, that’s not the case! Sleep apnea presents itself as snoring, choking, or gasping for air throughout the night while the patient sleeps, which seems harmless on its own. However, these breathing disturbances during the night increase the individual’s risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and even death due to cardiac arrest.
A recent study found that 50% or more of cardiovascular patients are also diagnosed with sleep apnea, compared to less than 5% in the overall population. And that’s not all — another study uncovered that individuals experiencing both heart failure and sleep apnea died at twice the rate of those with just heart failure.
These findings demonstrate why it’s important that sleep apnea patients fully understand what sleep apnea does to the heart and how treatment can help mitigate these issues. ApneaMed is here to share all the information you need to know.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that causes an individual to experience numerous breathing disturbances throughout the night. The patient stops breathing due to the soft tissues in their throat collapsing and blocking their airway. In an attempt to reopen their airway, the individual will often suddenly wake up choking or gasping for air. These breathing disruptions can occur from a few times to more than a hundred times throughout the night!
In many cases, a partner notices the sleep disorder when they hear their companion struggling to breathe during the night. Although the patient snores, chokes, or gasps for air during the disruptions, they often don’t know it’s going on — resulting in untreated sleep apnea. If sleep apnea is suspected, it’s vital to undergo a sleep apnea study and get the recommended treatment to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and cardiac arrest.
How Sleep Apnea Impacts the Heart
Obstructive sleep apnea can result in a few cardiovascular complications, which is why it’s essential to be aware of them all if you suspect you have untreated sleep apnea. Here is several way sleep apnea impacts the heart:
- High blood pressure
- Heart rhythm disorders (e.g., atrial fibrillation and sudden cardiac death)
- Heart failure
- Coronary artery disease and risk of heart attack
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Metabolic syndrome
- Type 2 diabetes
Individuals with sleep apnea are two to four times more likely to experience heart arrhythmias than those without OSA. They’re also 140% more likely to experience heart failure.
That’s why it is important for patients diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea to get proper treatment, such as CPAP therapy. A CPAP machine delivers steady, continuous pressure for both inhalation and exhalation to the individual throughout the night to ensure that their airway remains open while they sleep.
Call ApneaMed If You Have Sleep Apnea & Heart Disease
Leading a healthy lifestyle is of the utmost importance when aiming to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease — but that can seem incredibly difficult if you’re constantly feeling tired and rundown from a lack of sleep. With the help of a sleep specialist, you can receive a recommended treatment plan to help alleviate your sleep apnea symptoms and improve your overall health.
If you have sleep apnea and heart disease, you must get the proper treatment to promote a healthy lifestyle and decrease the chances of dealing with heart disease and other related health issues. ApneaMed offers a variety of home sleep tests and in-home breathing equipment to help you treat obstructive sleep apnea and reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems. Contact our team to learn more.