An Overview Of Sleep Apnea And Heart Disease

Sleep apnea and heart disease is a very important issue. There has been a significant rise in the occurrence of sleep apnea over the past few years and there is a definite connection between sleep apnea and heart disease although this has only been known for about the last decade. The connection between sleep apnea and heart disease is believed to be one of health sciences most profound findings this century.

Sleep Apnea Demystified. When a person ceases breathing during certain points in their sleeping hours it is known as sleep apnea. It is a relatively common disorder but it can have serious consequences. The most commonly occurring sleep apnea happens when there is insufficient air flow to the lungs as there is not enough air being inhaled through the mouth and nose. This is known as obstructive sleep apnea. Even though you are trying to breathe normally the oxygen levels in the blood may drop, then normal breathing commences again and the breathing re-starts with a choking noise of a loud snort.

Sleep Apnea And Heart Disease Are Connected. It is now believed that sleep apnea and heart disease have a very strong connection; with sleep apnea being one of the most important factors in terms of the cause of heart disease. It has also become recently apparent that people who suffer with hypertension also have an association with sleep apnea, ischemic heart disease, stroke and heart failure. Further to this, a research study has indicated that patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, but have normal blood pressure, are at great risk of developing high blood pressure and may do so in as little as four years.

The Physiological Impact Of Sleep Apnea And Heart Disease

People who suffer from sleep apnea have a tendency to have faster heart rates than people who do not suffer from this ailment. Notwithstanding the faster heart rate, sleep apnea sufferers’ heart rates are far less variable. Both during sleep and when awake, sleep apnea sufferers’ also have higher levels of sympathetic nervous system activity that was found in a control group of people who do not suffer with symptoms of sleep apnea.

How this actually comes about is because a sleep apnea sufferer stops breathing during sleep. Accordingly the level of oxygen in their body decreases and levels of carbon dioxide increase. The result is that when the sleep apnea sufferer inhales, the cardiac output rises and the blood pressure spikes. The result of this is that there is a disruption in the usual regulation of night-time blood pressure which affects the sympathetic nervous system and causes serious problems.

Sleep apnea and heart disease is receiving more attention and research. It is felt that it is imperative to have access to more detailed results of testing and trials. Ongoing testing is the only way to find positive solutions to the problem of sleep apnea and heart disease.

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