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Sleep Apnea and Your Heart


Tired woman laying in bed unable to sleepSleep apnea is a common and potentially serious sleep disorder that causes oxygen deprivation and interrupted sleep that results in a number of dangerous health conditions.

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea which is experienced by 34% of men and 17% of women. The condition is marked by the cessation of breathing when the back of the throat muscles sag and close off your airways. As a result, the brain wakes the body up to resume breathing, resulting in interrupted sleep. However, the waking up period may be so small that the person may not even remember it.

People who have severe sleep apnea may experience such episodes hundreds of times in a single night.

Unfortunately, about 80% of moderate and severe sleep apnea cases remain undiagnosed which means millions of people in the world do not even know they have this disorder.

Sleep Apnea and Its Effect on Your Heart


A person suffering from sleep apnea may experience dry mouth when waking up, daytime fatigue, chronic headaches, trouble focusing, and irritable mood — however, its effect can be much more serious.

Research has found that people with sleep apnea are more at risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), heart attack, and stroke as well as other systemic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, liver issues, and metabolic syndrome.

•  Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world. During episodes of sleep apnea, your blood is deprived of oxygen, which makes your body release stress hormones. In combination with other risk factors like obesity, alcohol consumption, and smoking, you may be at high risk of heart attack, hypertension, and stroke.
•  Sleep Apnea and Obesity: Obesity and sleep apnea can independently increase the risk of heart conditions by having a negative effect on blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and heart attack. Obesity can also contribute toward sleep apnea since the increased fat deposits around the neck can block the upper airway while you are sleeping. Research has found that just a 10% increase in body weight can increase the risk of sleep apnea by six times.
•  Sleep Apnea and Sleep Deprivation: Sleep apnea results in insufficient and restless sleep which can negatively affect your heart health. Sleep allows your body to recuperate and heart rate and blood pressure drop while you are sleeping as your breathing becomes more regular. However, sleep apnea prevents your cardiovascular system from recovering properly. Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to heart attacks, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea


If you suffer from sleep apnea, Dr. Cynthia Colson and at San Tan Oral Surgery may recommend the use of oral devices, therapies, and oral surgery to open up your airway. 
•  Continuous positive airway pressure is a device that delivers steady air pressure through a mask on the nose or mouth that prevents the airway from closing.
•  We may also recommend oral appliances which can reposition your jaw and open up your airways.
•  Regular physical activity can help you lose weight and have a beneficial effect on your heart.
•  Limiting the use of alcohol to a single glass per day can help you get a good night’s sleep.
•  Avoid the use of caffeine before bed.
•  In some cases, surgery to remove excess tissue from the back of the throat may be a viable option.

If you or your partner suffers from sleep apnea, it is important that you get it treated as soon as possible. Call (480) 604-2592 to schedule an appointment with us today and discuss your options.
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