Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease

Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease

Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person has pauses in breathing while asleep. This condition is also known as obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition and it can have a major impact on the health of the sufferer. The main cause of sleep apnea is the obstruction of the airway. This can be caused by a wide range of factors including a large tongue, thick neck tissue, obesity, and even sleeping position. In this article, we discuss the relationship between sleep apnea and heart disease and the ways in which you can prevent or treat both conditions.

How Is Sleep Apnea Related to Heart Disease?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and around the world. Eating an unhealthy diet, not getting enough physical activity, drinking too much alcohol, and smoking are some of the behaviors that can increase the risk of heart disease. High blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and diabetes are some of the health conditions that can increase the risk of heart disease.

The risk of heart arrhythmias and cardiovascular disease can be increased by the lack of treatment for sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea are more likely to develop abnormal heart rhythms than people without this condition. The risk of heart failure is increased by 140% and the risk of cardiovascular disease is increased by 30%.

Obesity, Sleep Apnea, & Heart Disease

Obesity is thought to be an important factor in the development of sleep apnea and heart disease according to researchers. It is important to keep in mind that sleep apnea alone, with or without weight gain, can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. The risk of health conditions that negatively affect heart health, such as hypertension, cholesterol levels, and diabetes, can be increased by sleep apnea and obese people.

Increased deposits of fat in the neck that narrow or block the upper airway during sleep are a common cause of Obesity. A 10% increase in body weight increases the risk of sleeping disorders by six-fold, according to researchers. More than 70% of people with sleep apnea have some form of Obesity. But, only around 30% of people with a diagnosis of weight gain have sleep apnea.

How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Your Cardiovascular System?

Sleep apnea has been linked to a variety of cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure, stroke, and congestive heart failure, as well as sudden cardiac death. According to the National Institute of Health, multiple studies show that when you stop and start breathing while you sleep, it contributes to or worsens cardiovascular disease with serious consequences.

The level of oxygen in your blood drops when you stop breathing while sleeping. Your cardiovascular system is trying to deliver oxygen to your heart and brain, so that drop increases blood pressure and strains it. Even though we know that high blood pressure is a risk factor in the development of other cardiac conditions, this increase in blood pressure persists even during the daytime.

Cardiovascular System

Signs That Indicate Your Cardiovascular System Is Getting Affected by Sleep Apnea

Aside from loud snoring and suddenly stopped breathing or gasping for air during sleep (observed by someone else, obviously), the symptoms may seem similar to those of any sleep disorder.

  • Waking up with a dry mouth
  • Morning headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleepiness
  • Irritability or trouble paying attention while awake
  • Frequent, loud snoring or gasping during sleep
  • Reduced breathing or pauses in breathing during sleep
  • Daytime sleepiness and fatigue
  • Difficulty maintaining attention and concentration
  • Waking up often at night to urinate

How to Treat Sleep Apnea to Get Better Sleep?

If you have moderate-to-severe cases, your doctor may recommend devices or treatments to help open the airway. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), in which a machine delivers constant air pressure through a mask into the nose or mouth, is one of the most popular therapies. If you have a mild case and are having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, your doctor might suggest lifestyle changes.

  • If you want to stay awake, you need to get regular physical activity, but don’t do it before bed because it can get you excited and make you sleepy.
  • Limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day for women and two drinks for men, as too much alcohol can interfere with sleep.
  • It’s a good idea to stay away from coffee before bed.
  • Take a warm bath, dim the lights, or have some herbal tea before you go to bed.


Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing for a few seconds during the night. This happens because your airway is blocked by your tongue falling back during sleep. It is estimated that 2-4% of the population has sleep apnea.

The reason that people get sleep apnea is that they have a small upper airway, which is the space between your nose and your throat.

Sleep apnea can develop in different ways. For example, if you have a big fatty area in your neck, it may make it difficult to breathe. Another way that it can develop is if you have a big tongue or a big jaw.

You may not know that you have sleep apnea until you are diagnosed with it. Symptoms include snoring, waking up gasping for breath, waking up with a dry mouth, or feeling tired during the day.

Sleep apnea is usually treated by getting a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP). This is a machine that blows air into your throat to keep your airway open.

Yes, sleep apnea is dangerous. It can cause high blood pressure, heart problems, and stroke.

Yes, there are other treatments for sleep apnea. One is to have surgery to widen the airway.


Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that causes you to stop breathing repeatedly during the night. It can cause serious health problems, including heart disease. However, there are ways to prevent and treat it. If you have sleep apnea, you should talk to your doctor about treatment options, such as the use of CPAP machines.

If you want to know more about different sleep related disorder check out here.

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