How Your Sleep Apnea Clinic May Improve Heart Health
Posted: August 21, 2020
Did you know that sleep apnea is associated with many cardiovascular diseases? Because this sleep disorder can increase your risk for heart and cardiovascular problems, it’s vital for long-term health to visit your sleep apnea clinic for diagnosis and treatment. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Untreated sleep apnea may play a significant role in those deaths. In fact, researchers suggest that one in four deaths from heart disease could have been prevented by managing high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. All of these conditions are also associated with sleep apnea.
Therefore, if you have sleep apnea, it’s important to seek diagnosis and treatment. This may help improve your heart health and your overall wellness. If you suffer from cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, atrial fibrillation, or heart arrhythmias, you may also have sleep apnea. Therefore, you may benefit from visiting your sleep apnea clinic for care.
Why did My Cardiologist Recommend Visiting a Sleep Apnea Clinic?
If you’ve been diagnosed with a cardiovascular condition, your cardiologist may recommend visiting a sleep apnea clinic. However, you may be wondering why this is. First, sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease often occur together. For example, 50% of sleep apnea patients have hypertension and 50% also experience nighttime heart arrhythmias. What’s more, 71% of all patients diagnosed with cardiovascular disease have sleep apnea. Therefore, because heart diseases and sleep apnea often occur in tandem, your cardiologist may recommend screening for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea care can help you sleep better and improve your quality of life. However, another important part of seeking sleep apnea treatment is that it may help reduce your cardiovascular risks.
Cardiovascular Risks of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is linked to several cardiovascular diseases, including:
- Hypertension: Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension is a condition where the pressure in your blood vessels is regularly too high. This can damage the delicate tissues of your blood vessels and increase your risk for other heart conditions.
- Atrial Fibrillation: Commonly known as A Fib, atrial fibrillation refers to an irregular and rapid heart rate. This condition makes your heart’s upper chambers beat out of sync with the lower chambers. It can increase your risk for blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other cardiovascular diseases.
- Coronary Artery Disease: Coronary artery disease is where your arteries narrow and harden. This can lead to heart attack, heart failure, and irregular heartbeat.
- Congestive Heart Failure: Congestive heart failure is a condition where your heart doesn’t pump blood as well as it should, often due to weakening or hardening of the heart muscle.
- Stroke: A stroke is a cardiovascular condition where a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain becomes blocked or ruptures. Without blood supply, brain cells in that part of the brain start to die and lead to health complications or death.
- Arrhythmias: An arrhythmia refers to any problem with the rate or rhythm of your heart. For example, beating too fast, too slow, or irregularly. Arrhythmias can increase your risk for strokes, heart failure, and other conditions.
Your Cardiovascular System During Apnea Events
Why does sleep apnea increase your risk for cardiovascular conditions? There are a few factors that can influence your cardiovascular health. If you have sleep apnea, then your breathing pauses or becomes shallow for seconds or minutes during sleep. When this happens, your brain increases your heart rate and tightens your blood vessels to help get blood to your brain. While most people experience a decrease in blood pressure during sleep, those with sleep apnea may experience a 10-20% increase in blood pressure. Therefore, sleep apnea can put your cardiovascular system under strain and increase your body’s stress response, which is why many cardiologists recommend visiting a sleep apnea clinic to help improve heart health.
In addition, pauses in breathing during apnea events can lower oxygen saturation in your blood. Abnormal oxygen saturation can increase your risk for atrial fibrillation and irregular heartbeats. Sleep apnea can also lead to enlarged left atrium in your heart or provoke inflammation in your body. Both of these issues can increase cardiovascular risk.
Sleep Apnea Treatment May Decrease Cardiovascular Risks
So, why seek sleep apnea treatment? Treating your sleep apnea may actually decrease your risk for many cardiovascular conditions. Sleep apnea treatment may lower your risk for developing certain heart conditions and also may improve long-term health outcomes for those with cardiovascular disease. For example, those with sleep apnea are at a higher risk for sudden cardiac death. However, treatment with CPAP therapy helps reduce your risk for sudden cardiac death.
In addition, studies show that CPAP therapy can help reduce your risk of developing heart failure. Researchers looked at patients with sleep apnea who didn’t have heart failure and found that over 13 years, those who didn’t use CPAP therapy had a higher risk of developing heart failure at any age. After age 60, that risk shot up to a 38% higher risk compared to those who used their CPAP device.
Sleep apnea treatment helps decrease the number and severity of apnea events you experience during the night, which can help reduce the stress on your cardiovascular system. CPAP therapy is the most effective way to treat sleep apnea. However, for mild cases, our sleep team may recommend lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, losing weight, and avoiding alcohol and other substances that can relax the muscles in the back of your throat.
Convenient, Affordable Treatment Services from Your Sleep Apnea Clinic
At Low T Center, we are one of the leading sleep apnea treatment providers in the U.S. Our goal is to provide convenient, affordable, and effective men’s healthcare. We take a holistic approach to helping you improve your health, which means we help identify and treat underlying causes of your symptoms to help you feel your best. We provide customized treatment plans based on your lifestyle to help optimize your health. If you believe you have sleep apnea, order your home sleep test today or schedule a comprehensive health assessment to take the first step toward a better night’s sleep.
Disclaimer: This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Low T Center. You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.