Obstructive Sleep Apnea And Cardiovascular Disease Risk
If snore loudly, you may have obstructive sleep apnea. While this condition often leads to daytime sleepiness and low energy, it may also raise your risk for cardiovascular disease. If you believe you may have obstructive sleep apnea, it is essential that you make an appointment with a sleep medicine physician. Here are some ways your sleep apnea can increase your risk for heart disease, and what you can do about them.
Coronary Artery Disease
It is thought that obstructive sleep apnea may play a role in the development of coronary artery disease. While the reason is not fully understood, it is thought that because sleep apnea causes periodic lapses in breathing during sleep, the brain may be deprived of oxygen, which may raise the risk for arterial disease.
Another way obstructive sleep apnea can contribute to coronary artery disease is through vasoconstriction and the rise of intrathoracic pressure. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your physician may refer you to a sleep medicine specialist.
He or she will recommend that you visit a sleep clinic and undergo a sleep study. Once your sleep apnea has been treated, your risk for coronary artery disease may significantly decline.
High Blood Pressure
It is a well-known fact that high blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major risk factor in the development of cardiovascular disease. Risk factors for high blood pressure include family history, genetics, obesity, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and perhaps, obstructive sleep apnea.
The oxygen levels in your blood drop during obstructive sleep apnea episodes, making the cardiovascular system work harder, which is why it can increase your risk for hypertension. Persistently high blood pressure caused by sleep apnea may increase your risk of a cardiac arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation.
Treating obstructive sleep apnea with a CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine, will help keep blood oxygen levels from falling during sleep, which will help prevent high blood pressure.
Losing weight, sleeping on your side, limiting your consumption of alcohol close to bedtime, and getting treatment for your acid reflux disease may also help reduce the frequency of sleep apnea episodes, as might getting treatment for sinus problems.
If you wake up gasping for air or if your sleeping partner tells you that you snore, make an appointment with a sleep medicine doctor. Once obstructive sleep apnea is recognized and treated, your risk for cardiovascular disease will diminish, and you will feel more refreshed when you wake up in the morning. For more information, contact companies like Elkview General Hospital.