How Sleep Apnea Impacts Heart Health

Sleep is incredibly important for both your mind and body. Unfortunately, many of us suffer from sleep disorders that make it difficult to get the rest we need every night. In fact, 25 million American adults have obstructive sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder that can have serious consequences, particularly when it comes to the heart.

Here at Weight No More in Newport Beach, California, we’re dedicated to helping patients alleviate the nightly disruptions of sleep apnea they often experience. In this article, we’ll explore what sleep apnea is, how it impacts your heart, and what you can do about it.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes interruptions of breathing during sleep. There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type.

In sleep apnea, the muscles in the back of your throat relax, closing your airway so you can’t breathe in. Sensing that you can’t draw air into your body, your brain wakes you up so you can breathe. Though you may not remember this happening, it can occur 5 to 30 times an hour, preventing you from getting high quality, deep sleep.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea can take a serious toll on your body and your mind. The symptoms you may experience include:

  • Snoring
  • Frequent tossing and turning
  • Teeth grinding
  • Morning headaches
  • Heartburn
  • Exhaustion
  • Heartburn/GERD
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Depression

The exact symptoms you experience will depend on a number of factors. Regardless, they can have serious consequences. The diminished oxygen supply from not breathing for short periods of time can cause long-term damage to your heart, and can even be deadly.

How does sleep apnea impact heart health?

Breathing brings oxygen into your body, which is necessary for your body to perform its essential functions. When you stop breathing, the levels of oxygen in your blood drop, which increases blood pressure.

This increase in blood pressure can cause significant strain your heart and cardiovascular system. Sleep apnea can increase your risk of heart attack, atrial fibrillation, stroke, and abnormal heartbeat. If you already have heart disease, the drop in oxygen caused by sleep apnea can cause sudden death.

How is sleep apnea treated?

While the symptoms can be distressing, there are a number of treatment options that can help. Dr. Skversky & Dr. Ahmed are experts who can determine the causes of your sleep apnea and provide you with treatment options to help your body get the oxygen and rest that it needs.

For instance, excess weight can cause or worsen sleep apnea. Those who are overweight often have extra tissue in the back of the throat, which can block the flow of air during sleep. Dr. Skversky & Dr. Ahmed can offer a number of treatments to address this.

There are also a number of medical devices that can treat your sleep apnea. One option is a nightguard that fits in your mouth and shifts your lower jaw forward to help keep your airway open. These devices are custom made to fit your mouth in order to be comfortable.

Other treatment options include surgery, laser therapy, and use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. These will help address your sleep apnea and ensure that your body and heart get the oxygen they need, and that you get a good night’s rest.

Set up an appointment with the doctors at Weight No More today to start treatment for your sleep apnea. Call our office or simply book your visit online.

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