How Sleep Apnea Affects the Heart

Photo: Woman SleepingSnoring isn’t just an inconvenience that annoys your spouse. It can be an indicator of something much worse: sleep apnea. Smile On Dental Salon & Sleep Apnea Center cares for patients throughout the Chicago area, many of whom wonder: is sleep apnea really such a big deal, and do I really need to worry about it? If you care about your heart, the answer is “yes.”

What is Sleep Apnea?

First, let’s take a look at what sleep apnea is. A sleep disorder, it’s an interruption to your breathing during sleep. These interruptions happen multiple times per hour, depriving your organs of oxygen and depriving you of needed REM sleep.

What Are The Risks of Sleep Apnea?

There are several risks that present with sleep apnea. At the very least, you’ll often feel tired and sluggish during the day due to lack of sleep. The Mayo Clinic also states that you’re also more prone to high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, liver problems, metabolic syndrome, surgical complications, and weight gain. However, your heart suffers most of all.

Sleep Apnea and Your Heart

Because you’re getting less oxygen, your heart has to work harder. That leads to a host of problems. We’ve already mentioned high blood pressure, but you’re also more prone to suffer heart palpitations, arrhythmia, heart disease, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and — perhaps most frightening of all — sudden cardiac death.

How Do I Know if I Have Sleep Apnea?

Needless to say, sleep apnea symptoms aren’t something you want to self-diagnose. If you have a roommate or spouse, they’re often the first to warn you about excessive snoring or cessation of breathing while you sleep. If your physical reveals high blood pressure and you can’t find a lifestyle or dietary cause, or if you find you’re constantly tired, those may also be signs.

However, only a sleep study will give you a definitive diagnosis. Smile On Dental Salon & Sleep Apnea Center can also give you solutions for peace of mind and the best night’s sleep you may have gotten in a very long time.

What Can Be Done for Sleep Apnea?

You want your heart happy and healthy, of course. Diet and exercise help not only to keep your heart healthy but also help sleep apnea. As the American Heart Association notes, obesity is a major predictor for sleep apnea, and can cause a cycle where the sleep apnea makes weight management harder, exacerbating your weight and sleep problems alike.

Limiting caffeine and alcohol also help, since both interfere with sleep. Turning off electronics — your TV, tablet, e-reader, and smartphone — will also help you get deeper sleep. But the best remedy of all is a CPAP machine prescribed by a professional. The latest CPAP models are much more comfortable and quieter than the ones on the market just a few years ago.

Sleep apnea causes more than fatigue. Left untreated, it can be fatal. It doesn’t have to be. Contact Smile On Dental Salon & Sleep Apnea Center for a consultation today!