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Sleep Apnea, Interrupted Breathing Can Cause Heart Issues

— August 24, 2023

Disrupted sleep can cause significant cardiovascular symptoms.

Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by the recurrent cessation of breathing during sleep. The condition not only makes it difficult for affected individuals to get a good night’s rest, but it also raises their chances of developing cardiovascular disease, psychological disorders, and other health problems. According to the findings of a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, the cardiovascular risks that are associated with sleep apnea are caused by a drop in the amount of oxygen in the blood. The condition has been related to a variety of cardiac diseases, including heart failure, irregular pulse rate, and even heart attacks.

When a person is suffering from sleep apnea, they will repeatedly cease breathing while they are sleeping, which will result in a slower heart rate. According to the Sleep Foundation, an increase in heart rate and a sharp rise in blood pressure occur as the body awakens from sleep and begins to breathe again. Repeated spikes in blood pressure can cause damage to the blood vessels linings and sleep disruptions can lead to an increase in levels of dangerous LDL cholesterol and other blood fats. These alterations might result in blocked arteries and impaired function of the heart muscle. People who suffer from untreated sleep apnea have a risk of having a heart attack two times higher than that of people who do not have the illness.

According to Dasgupta, sleep apnea lowers the amounts of oxygen in the blood, which in turn affects the amount of oxygen that can reach important organs. Oxygen is essential to the normal functioning of all the body’s organs, including the heart. As a result of this decrease in oxygen, there is also an increase in the amount of inflammatory chemicals in the blood, which may be harmful to both the heart and the blood vessels.

Sleep Apnea, Interrupted Breathing Can Cause Heart Issues
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Researchers have discovered that individuals who have obstructive sleep apnea have lower amounts of oxygen in their blood, which puts them at a greater risk for cardiovascular disease. A substantial part of this phenomenon can be attributed to irregular breathing. These researchers looked for obstructive sleep apnea to potentially explain why certain persons had a higher risk of developing cardiovascular consequences than others.

The researchers came to the conclusion that the majority of hypoxic load might be attributed to severe airway obstruction rather than variables such as obesity. “These findings will help better characterize high-risk versions of obstructive sleep apnea,” stated Ali Azarbarzin, head of the Sleep Apnea Health Outcomes Research Group at Harvard.

Research that was conducted by the Cleveland Clinic discovered that sleep apnea is also related to brain health. These researchers came to the conclusion that sleep apnea hindered patients from entering the state known as deep sleep, which is necessary for the body to repair damaged tissue. In addition, the risk of cardiac arrhythmias and cardiovascular illness is considerably increased when sleep apnea is left untreated. Patients diagnosed with sleep apnea have an estimated two to four times increased risk of developing cardiac arrhythmias, also known as irregular heart rhythms, in comparison to persons who do not have this illness.

The risk of heart failure is increased by 140%, and the risk of coronary heart disease is increased by 30%, when a person has sleep apnea. Many people do not receive the recommended amount of sleep, which prevents the heart and circulatory system from having the necessary time to recuperate. A lack of sleep on a consistent basis has been related to an increased risk of hypertension, heart disease, and heart attacks, as well as stroke.


How does sleep apnea affect the heart?

Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease

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