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Sleep apnea is a common and serious condition in which breathing becomes shallow or completely stops while sleeping, affecting 1 in 25 males and 1 in 50 females. This breathing disorder can result not only in extreme fatigue, but research suggests that sleep apnea can increase the risk of heart disease.
Researchers believe the connection between sleep apnea and heart disease stems from the breathing interruptions while you sleep. When the airway narrows or collapses, obstructing air flow to the lungs, the patient gasps for air. This lack of oxygen sends the body into a state of panic that stresses the heart, decreases blood oxygen levels, and raises blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
The decreased airflow in the night deprives your heart of oxygen and increases its workload. Over time, this may damage the heart and lead to heart failure.
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that requires long-term treatment and management. Fortunately getting treatment can decrease the impact that sleep apnea has on heart disease.
To learn more about sleep apnea or to receive diagnosis and treatment to decrease your risk of heart disease, please contact one of our sleep specialists.