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Sleeping Your Way to a Healthier Heart

News, Sleep Apnea

It is important to address all issues and potential risk factors for cardiovascular disease. One such disease that can cause major cardiac and vascular complications is sleep apnea. The disorder causes breathing to get very shallow or even stop during your sleep cycle, disrupting your good night’s sleep and causing havoc on your body’s circulatory system.


Although sleep apnea may cause you to feel tired and fatigued once awake, new research has linked the disorder to depression, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats (atrial fibrillation), coronary artery disease, increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, heart failure, and even sudden death among other medical conditions. Recognizing this medical condition and taking corrective action can be a life-saver, in addition to improving your everyday energy level.


Sleep apnea means you often stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer, 5 to 50 times an hour. The most common cause is large tonsils, adenoids, or a large uvula, often linked to obesity. A less common type, called central sleep apnea, occurs in people who have had a stroke, heart failure, brain tumor, or infection. Certain medications or alcohol intake before bed can also contribute. Undiagnosed sleep apnea patients who are facing surgery or anesthesia may have an increased risk for the planned surgeries.

Danger to Cardiovascular Health

Thus, informing your surgeon of this disorder before any surgery is very important. While breathing tops, this causes low blood oxygen levels, which can eventually raise blood pressure and damaged blood vessels. This, in turn, can contribute to cardiovascular disease and even stroke. The main symptoms of sleep apnea are: being so sleepy during the day that you fall asleep while working or driving, feeling tired in the morning, or waking up with a headache. Your bed partner may notice that while you are asleep you stop breathing, often snore loudly, gasp, choke, or toss and turn.

The sudden drop in blood-oxygen levels can increase blood pressure, strain the cardiovascular system, and damage the heart muscle. These dangers present even more reasons to seek help for the disorder. With treatments improving, if you have sought help before, now is the time to try again. People with obstructive or central sleep apnea may also complain of memory problems, morning headaches, mood swings, feelings of depression, a need to urinate frequently at night (nocturia), and/or impotence. Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) may be more prevalent in people with sleep apnea, as well. Children with this condition who go untreated may be hyperactive and may be diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


Treating this condition in the appropriate patients is very rewarding. At Ashchi Heart & Vascular Center, we utilize the highest quality equipment and technologists in a safe and comfortable environment to help diagnose and treat sleep apnea. If our staff and/or physician discuss sleep issues with you, it will be clear that we are exploring this possibility. The possibility of a condition that is highly associated with general cardiovascular conditions that affect many of our patients.

Schedule an appointment with us today.

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