The Connection Between Heart Disease and Sleep Apnea
By Winchester Neurological Consultants
August 09, 2021
Category: Health Conditions
Tags: Sleep Apnea   Heart Disease  

When you suffer from sleep apnea, you are at a higher risk of developing other chronic diseases like heart disease. The physicians at Winchester Neurological Consultants, located in Winchester, VA, are experts in identifying the connection between sleep apnea and heart disease and its prevention.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes a person to stop breathing intermittently during sleep. The most common cause of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea which results from a narrowed or blocked airway that restricts oxygen from getting into the lungs. Several cases of obstructive sleep apnea may go undiagnosed if your halts in breathing are not witnessed.

Sleep apnea symptoms go beyond just feeling tired or being unable to concentrate during the day. When you continuously deprive your body of the much-needed oxygen, it can cause significant stress on the body.

Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease

Sleep apnea is shown to directly affect a wide range of severe health complications, including coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke, and irregular heart rhythm. For example, research shows that patients suffering from sleep apnea are 2-4 times more likely to develop an abnormal heart rhythm, increase heart failure risks by 140%, and increase coronary artery disease risk by 30%.

Sleep Apnea, Heart Disease, and Obesity

Obesity plays a significant role in your risks for sleep apnea and heart disease. Sleep apnea on its own can increase your risk for heart disease, but then add obesity as a factor, and you will see your risk for heart disease increase even more. If you suspect you may suffer from sleep apnea, the physicians at Winchester Neurological Consultants in Winchester, VA, will screen you for the disease and offer treatment.

How obesity affects both sleep apnea and heart disease is evident. When you are obese, a more significant amount of fat deposits in the neck narrow or block the upper airway while you sleep.

With heart disease, obesity is linked to several factors that increase your risk, and they include:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome

When you have high blood pressure, your heart's left ventricle can become enlarged and weaken, leading to heart failure.

Sleep Deprivation and Heart Disease

With sleep apnea, you are not achieving the sufficient amount of rest that your body needs. When this happens, the lost sleep can negatively impact your heart health. When you receive a good night's rest, your heart rate and blood pressure drop during sleep, becoming more stable and regular. Without sleep, your heart is not experiencing this critical recovery time.

If you snore, experience daytime sleepiness, or suspect sleep apnea, reach out to Winchester Neurological Consultants today for a consultation appointment at their office in Winchester, VA, at (540) 667-1828.

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