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Sleep Apnea Hurts Heart

Sleep Apnea Hurts Heart

Oct 17, 2019

If you snore and feel tired after a full night sleep, you might have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

Just over 30 million people in the United States have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

OSA occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax. When the muscles relax, your airway narrows or closes as you breathe in. You can’t get enough air, which can lower the oxygen level in your blood. Your brain senses your inability to breathe and briefly rouses you from sleep so that you can reopen your airway. This awakening may occur multiple times during your sleep and may be so brief that you don’t remember it.

Sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during OSA increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system. Having OSA increases your risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), recurrent heart attack, abnormal heartbeats, such as atrial fibrillation and stroke. Having sleep apnea also increases your risk of developing insulin resistance, which can complicate the management of type 2 diabetes, a medical condition that is common in people with heart disease.

The Prevalence

50 - 70% Prevalence of OSA in patients with Heart Failure 30 - 40% Prevalence of Sleep Apnea in people with High Blood Pressure (hypertension) 85% Prevalence of OSA in people with Treatment Resistant Hypertension


2x Higher Risk of dying from Heart Disease 2 to 4 - fold Higher Risk of Atrial Fibrillation in people who have OSA 2x Higher Risk of having a Stroke in people with Severe, Untreated OSA

Benefits Treating OSA

Restores Healthy Sleep Reduces the Risk of Heart Damage Increases Physical Energy Enhances Daytime Alertness Improves Mood

References: July 2018, Journal of Atrial Fibrillation 2016, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, AASM 2016, Sleep and Breathing 2016, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, AASM 2014, International Journal of Cardiology 2013 

Topics: Heart Health