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The Dangerous Connection between Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease

Tossing and turning at night because a lot is on your mind is one thing, but doing so because you are suffering from sleep apnea could cause you to deal with some pretty heavy-hitting diseases later on in life.

Healthy sleep is important to a person’s well-being for more than just mood and energy levels.  Not breathing correctly while you snooze can wreak havoc on your body in ways some people just do not understand.  In fact, it seems that there is a real and dangerous connection between sleep apnea and heart disease.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Millions of people around the world suffer from one of the three types of sleep apnea.  This breathing disorder affects folks young and old, causing them to take dangerously long pauses in breathing while sleeping.  This may not seem like that big of a deal, but the consequences of labored sleeping are an unhappy and unhealthy person.

In fact, the strain put on the body while it is supposed to be at rest is the main reason why so many other diseases are often associated with this particular disorder, including heart disease.

What is Heart Disease?

Unfortunately, heart disease (often called cardiovascular disease) is not an uncommon problem in the modern world.  Unhealthy diet choices, genetics, and lifestyle mistakes often contribute to the overall condition of a person’s heart; but seldom do folks realize that sleep apnea and heart disease are related.

This disease occurs when the heart, veins, and/or blood vessels in the body become damaged, obstructed, or destroyed.  It can affect anyone of any age and is worsened by an irresponsible lifestyle, imbalanced sleep schedule, an unhealthy diet, or all of the above.

How does Sleep Apnea cause Heart Disease?

Sleep apnea and heart disease are more closely related than some folks are willing to admit.  Eating the perfect diet and exercising regularly will only take you so far if your body is not able to get adequate amounts of “real” rest.

Because sleep apnea causes the heart and lungs to work so hard while you snooze, the subsequent systems responsible for bodily regulation become strained to the point of disrepair.  In fact, some studies have shown that sleep apnea can even cause a person to suffer from sudden cardiac death.

What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea-Induced Heart Disease?

It is important that you keep a close eye on the general health of yourself and your loved ones, especially if you suspect sleep apnea and heart disease.  A person who is dealing with either sleep apnea, heart disease, or both will experience one or more of the following sleep apnea symptoms:

  • Loud snoring
  • Tossing and turning at night
  • Night sweats
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Morning headaches
  • Mouth breathing while asleep (resulting in chapped lips)
  • Attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (or symptoms thereof)
  • Numbness in the extremities
  • Chest pain
  • Low oxygen levels
  • Extreme thirst (especially upon waking)
  • Gasping for air while asleep

Unfortunately, there are too many other symptoms associated with both sleep apnea and heart disease to name.  Speaking with a healthcare professional will help you to decide if you need to be concerned or not.  Keep in mind that there are treatments available if you need them.

What are the most Effective Treatments?

It is easy to get the treatment you need to prevent or manage sleep apnea and heart disease in your life.  Some self-help techniques involve using a snoring mouthpiece such as zQuiet or Zyppah, avoiding caffeine, quitting smoking, and maintaining a regular sleep schedule.

Medical techniques include more evasive procedures such as medication and surgery.  Talk to your healthcare provider for more personalized information on treatment options.

About the Author Robert J. Hudson

Chief editor here at Snore Nation and a proud father of two cool boys. I am a reformed snorer, a reformed smoker, a reformed overeater, a reformed city dweller and a reformed workaholic stress monster on the mission to share my insider tips to restore that quality sleep for you and your partner!

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