The Dangerous Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Abnormal Heart Rhythm

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a problem that goes beyond snoring. With sleep apnea, a person briefly but repeatedly stops breathing during sleep. This can happen 30 times every hour. OSA is caused by throat muscles relaxing, which obstructs the airway. In addition to poor sleep, OSA can cause low blood oxygen levels. Bad sleep and lack of oxygen may lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and memory problems.

More than 18 million American adults – both men and women – have sleep apnea.

Debunking Sleep Myths: Is Snoring Harmless?

Approximately 90 million American adults who occasionally experience snoring, many think of it as simply an annoyance or a barrier to getting a good night’s sleep. In many cases, that’s true, and snoring is nothing more than its physiological components: the vibrations of your breathing against a narrow airway. However, for some people, snoring may be an indicator of more serious health issues

When is snoring harmless? Yes, It’s Fatal

Throat muscles naturally relax as you get older. This means snoring is a common byproduct of aging. It can also be caused by abnormalities in the nose or throat or allergies.
However, snoring may be a bigger issue if you experience any of these symptoms:
  • Excessive daytime drowsiness or walking up not feeling rested
  • Morning headaches
  • Recent weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Chest pain at night
  • Inability to concentrate or memory loss
  • Noticeably pauses in breathing at night
  • Waking up gasping for breath

The Connection Between Weight and Sleep Apnea

Having sleep apnea can also contribute to weight gain. Disrupted sleep also makes it harder to lose weight.

If you believe you may have sleep apnea, talk with your doctor. A common treatment is a CPAP machine. The mask-like device is worn all night and uses air pressure to keep airways open.

Left untreated, OSA can lead to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease or stroke. It’s important to treat the condition and get ahead of further health problems.

Is Sleep Apnea Linked With Heart Disease? Yes!

If you suffer from undiagnosed or untreated sleep apnea, it could take a toll on your heart health. Besides potentially leading to poor sleep, fatigue and drowsy driving, sleep apnea can cause serious heart damage.

OSA has been linked to an irregular heartbeat, heart failure, heart attacks, and strokes. All of these are associated with high blood pressure.

If you have noticed any of these symptoms, it’s time to take them seriously and protect your heart health.

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