Important Facts About Sleep Apnea And Heart Health

Snoring tends to be associated with your mouth, throat, and maybe your lungs. If you’ve been told that you snore or if your partner sounds like a chainsaw your heart may be the last thing you worry about. However, sleep apnea and heart health go hand in hand as poor quality sleep greatly contributes to worsened cardiovascular health.

Important Facts About Sleep Apnea And Heart Health

Sleep Apnea and Heart Health are dangerous to ignore During sleep apnea, your breathing stops either due to your airways becoming blocks or the muscles involved with breathing stop responding. As a result, the body works to wake you up in order to restore your breath.

The stress this put on your body combined with waking up multiple times a night is exhausting on both a physical and mental level, leading to even more stress. Because this stress contributes to hypertension, heart disease, heart failure, and arrhythmia, sleep apnea may raise the risk of dying from heart disease by up to five times. However, your heart health is also affected by which type of sleep apnea you have.

Dr. Rohit Budhiraja explained, "Sleep deprivation can affect all aspects of our lives, and some effects are much more serious than simply nodding off at work or being irritable. For one, there is evidence that losing sleep regularly is associated with chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. According to the CDC, heart attack, coronary heart disease, stroke, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, arthritis, depression, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes occurrences were higher in U.S. adults who suffer from sleep deprivation or what CDC calls “Short Sleep Duration,” which is less than 7 hours of sleep per night,"

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea and occurs when the soft tissues of the throat collapse, blocking your upper airway. While this is more common in those who are obese, OSA can affect slimmer people as well.

When the throat collapses and your breathing stops, your oxygen levels drop as well, causing your body to release adrenaline, the stress hormone. As you experience multiple apneas or events in which you stop breathing during the night, your adrenaline levels can constantly remain high, leading to high blood pressure.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)

CSA occurs when the signals in your brain have a bit of a mix-up and fail to tell your muscles to breathe. This could be caused by other underlying health conditions such as atrial fibrillation or heart palpitations due to disorganized electric signals. CSA may also be caused by fluid in the lungs and salt retention.

How To Live Heart Healthy

In honor of American heart month, we want to help you lead a heart healthier life to reduce the risk of heart disease. 

Sleep apnea and heart health can be improved with a CPAP

Treat sleep apnea with the regular use of your CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) device to keep your airways open and to give your body the oxygen it needs.

Live a healthier lifestyle by getting up and moving more. Try to incorporate 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise into your daily routine every few days. This can be accomplished by taking walks, riding a bike, swimming, and much more.

Clean up your diet with moderation. Instead of constantly having sugary drinks, processed snacks, and fried foods go for water, sugar-free teas or coffee, nutritious fruits and vegetables that are full of fiber, and whole grains. The key to a balanced diet is moderation. You don’t have to completely give up your favorite treats, but try to save them for special occasions.

Support Heart Health

It’s American Heart Month, so it’s time to improve your heart health and spread awareness to others. Go red for women, get checked out for sleep apnea, and add healthier choices to your daily life!