In the past, snoring was just that- snoring. Annoying to the sleeping partner listening to it, still it was just snoring. However, Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease studies have continued to reveal that sleep apnea increases the risk of heart disease. In addition, snoring resulting from sleep apnea causes sleep disturbances.
Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease: How they Affect Sleep
The understanding of how sleep apnea and heart disease are connected and how they in turn affect sleep is ever-changing. In sleep apnea, the person usually experiences as many as 30 pauses in breathing per night. Sleep apnea and heart disease studies have shown that the patient has to gasp for air during apnea – short periods of breathing difficulty.
In layman’s language, sleep apnea and heart disease are connected in that sleep apnea interrupts restful sleep which interferes with the normal working of the heart. When normal breathing is interrupted, the heart has to make up for the difference by pumping harder. If the heart does not pump harder, the patient will not be able to breathe properly and this will, in turn, affect other metabolic activities. Here the connection between Heart Disease and Sleep Apnea is clear because a tired heart is more likely to fail.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) are the two main types of sleep apnea. Studies on obstructive sleep apnea and heart disease have shown that severe sleep apnea increases the risk of death from coronary heart disease by about 68% in a male who is over the age of 60 years.
Though one apnea in OSA may last for as few as 10 seconds, the result is that the airway collapses during sleep. Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease studies have shown that patients spend most of their sleep in the N-REM stage of sleep. Unlike REM, N-REM is related to shallow sleep making you feel sleepy during the day. Despite this sleepiness, you often have to stay awake during the day. This further adds to the stress experienced by the heart.
Sleep apnea and heart disease studies have shown that “apneas” not only interrupt sleep but also reduce the oxygen concentration in blood. Low oxygen concentration in blood in turn interferes with the normal function of not only the heart but also other organs. Studies on the prevalence of sleep apnea and disease of the heart have shown that 24% of men and 9% of women are affected by the two diseases.
Obesity, Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease
One of the main relationships between heart disease and sleep apnea is that they share many conditions in common. One of these conditions is obesity. As you may, obesity is directly linked to heart disease. Sleep apnea is also related to heart disease. In fact, the thicker your neck, the higher your chances of developing sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease: Treatment
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP. Sleep apnea and heart disease studies have shown that CPAP lower blood pressure at night and during the day. CPAP is known to reduce the incidences of heart disease related to heart disease by up to 80%. Other sleep apnea and heart disease tips:
- Use CPAP continuously until advised otherwise by your doctor.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule every day.
- As you have read, sleep apnea and heart disease have one major underlying condition and that is obesity. Therefore, it is important to manage your weight.