How Sleep Apnoea Affects The Heart

March 15, 2021

What is sleep apnoea?

Sleep apnoea is a condition in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly. Suffers often report feeling tired despite having a full nights sleep as well as loud snoring.

There are three main types of sleep apnoea. The most common is obstructive sleep apnoea, caused by the relaxation of the throat muscles and central sleep apnoea, caused by a disruption of signals sent by the brain to the muscles responsible for breathing. Finally, there's complex sleep apnoea which is both obstructive and central sleep apnoea combined.

Aside from loud snoring, other symptoms include; stopping breathing during sleep, headaches in the morning, gasping for air while sleeping, sleepiness in the day time; and difficulty staying asleep

How does it link to Heart Health?

Sleep apnoea can cause cardiovascular issues due to the sudden drop in blood oxygen levels caused by the condition. This increases blood pressure and can place a strain on the cardiovascular system as well as causing high blood pressure. It can also increase the risk of abnormal heartbeats such as atrial fibrillation, recurrent heart attack and stroke. Repeated drops in oxygen levels can potentially be fatal for those suffering from heart disease. Treatment can often improve the success of managing heart related conditions such as atrial fibrillation.

Treatment Options

The most common treatment option is the use of a CPAP machine. In other cases, a gum shield-like device is placed to hold your airways open while you sleep (mandibular advancement device). In more severe cases surgery may be required to help your breathing, such as removing large tonsils
These treatments aren't always necessary, and in mild cases treatment isn't always necessary. 
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