Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person stops breathing in the middle of the night. What most people do not know is that this disorder can have an effect on your heart health. With February being Heart Health Month, now is a better time than any to get your sleep apnea and heart health under control. If you are interested in learning how sleep apnea influences your heart and what you can do to help it, continue reading.

Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease 

Heart disease is one of the most common causes of death in Americans. There are many factors that can lead to heart disease such as being overweight, consuming too much alcohol, not getting enough exercise or eating an unhealthy diet. Health conditions that may increase your risk of developing heart disease include high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, diabetes or obesity.  

Undiagnosed sleep apnea can also play a significant role in increasing your chances of developing heart arrhythmias or some other form of heart disease. It is said that those who have suffered from sleep apnea are two to four times more likely to develop an abnormal heart rhythm as opposed to those who do not have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can also increase your risk of heart failure and coronary heart disease by a significant percentage.  

Sleep Deprivation and Heart Disease 

Not getting enough sleep or having interrupted sleep is common among those who have sleep apnea and getting poor sleep can have an overall effect on your health. Sleep has many important roles with one being allowing your body to rest and recharge. During sleep, your heart rate and blood pressure both drop as your breathing becomes more stable and regular.  

Not getting enough sleep as a result of having sleep apnea means that you are not giving your heart and cardiovascular system the break that it needs. Having chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to having an increased risk of hypertension, heart disease and stroke.  

Treating Sleep Apnea to Reduce Heart Disease Risk 

Talking to your doctor about sleep apnea can be an important step in your heart health. The treatments for sleep apnea can be very effective if you are diagnosed. However, the treatment that you get can be different from person to person. Sleep apnea treatments may include making a lifestyle change such as losing weight, exercising, or limiting alcohol. It can also include using positive airway pressure devices to prevent the upper airway from collapsing while asleep, using mouthpieces or oral appliances, doing mouth and throat exercises or even surgery.  

Learning how sleep apnea affects your heart health and the steps you can take to improve it will have an overall impact on your life. If you are interested in learning more, feel free to contact us today or talk with your health care provider.