Find out how untreated sleep apnea could increase your risk of heart disease.
Occasional bouts of snoring can occur as a result of a respiratory infection or after a night of imbibing; however, if loud snoring has become a routine occurrence this could be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep disorder that causes pauses in breathing throughout the night. Unfortunately, as our Arlington, TX, cardiologist Dr. Atif Sohail can tell you, many people don’t know that they even have sleep apnea until they start to develop other health problems such as heart disease or high blood pressure.
How are sleep apnea and heart disease connected?
If you think you might have sleep apnea it’s important that you don’t ignore this problem. After all, untreated sleep apnea can cause a serious impact on your health. Along with getting terrible sleep night after night, sleep apnea can also put a lot of strain on your heart. Over time, this can lead to damage to the heart.
Obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to a wide range of heart problems, from arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation (a potentially dangerous irregular heartbeat) to strokes and heart attacks. There are two ways in which sleep apnea impacts the heart,
- During each pause in breathing your heart rate suddenly drops, which in turn kicks your body’s involuntary responses into high gear. This leads to a hyperarousal of the body, which causes the heart rate and blood pressure to rise quickly.
- Every time you experience pauses in breathing while you sleep (many people with OSA experience hundreds of pauses in just one night) this affects oxygen levels in the body and brain, which increases CO2 and causes changes in pressure within the chest. This problem can lead to long-term inflammation, which over time can cause problems for the heart.
This is why time is of the essence when it comes to detecting and treating sleep apnea. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea it’s a good idea to have a cardiologist that you can turn to regularly for checkups and monitoring to make sure that you have your sleep apnea symptoms under control and that it isn’t affecting your heart.
If you or someone you love is dealing with heart disease or obstructive sleep apnea, it’s important that they have a cardiologist that they can turn to for regular monitoring and checkups. Call Heart & Sleep Clinics of America in Arlington, TX, at (817) 419-7220 to schedule an in-person appointment or telemedicine visit.