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A study published in the International Journal of Cardiology in February 2010 concluded that: “Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with many adverse health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease.”


It goes on to say, “the evidence would suggest that OSA should be considered as a cardiovascular risk factor, and is a treatable condition.” The relationship between untreated sleep apnea and its effects on your heart have been well known for many years.


If your blood oxygen levels plunge because no air is coming in, your blood pressure increases and puts an increased strain on your cardiovascular system. Many people with obstructive sleep apnea develop high blood pressure (hypertension), which raises the risk of heart failure and stroke.


The more severe the obstructive sleep apnea, the greater the risk of high blood pressure. People with obstructive sleep apnea are much more likely to develop abnormal heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillation.


If there’s an underlying heart disease, repeated multiple episodes of low blood oxygen every night could lead to sudden death from a cardiac event. The results of a study presented at the International Conference of the American Thoracic Society on May 21, 2007, showed that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease and death.


The study concluded that having untreated obstructive sleep apnea increases your risk of having a heart attack or dying by 30% over a period of four to five years. The study found that the more severe the sleep apnea at the beginning of the study, the greater the risk of developing heart disease or dying.


In 2009, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health reached this conclusion: People with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea faced an increased risk of death from any cause and particularly heart attacks. Men, in particular, were at greater risk.

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