Forum · Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease: What You Need to Know

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[-] ImaginativeEmeraldMule4678 +0 points · almost 2 years ago

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the United States. This extremely common and serious health issue is often found in patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), though doctors and researchers are still trying to fully understand the relationship between the two diseases.

What is Cardiovascular Disease?

Cardiovascular disease, commonly known as heart disease, is a general term for general health conditions related to the heart. Most of these conditions are due to arteries that are blocked or narrowed by plaque. Cardiovascular disease is often associated with:

• High blood pressure (hypertension) • Chest pain • Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia) • Heart valve or muscle issues • Coronary artery disease • Heart attack • Heart failure • Stroke

Heart disease has a myriad of causes and in many cases it is caused by more than one factor. Heart disease can be associated with congenital health problems, lifestyle choices, stress, genetics, and other health issues.

Cardiovascular Disease & Sleep Apnea

Patients with sleep apnea are more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease and patients with heart disease are more likely to be diagnosed with sleep apnea. However, because both sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease often co-exist with other health issues, it is difficult to understand their exact relationship.

Currently, researchers believe that not breathing regularly during sleep results in less oxygen in the blood. This lack of oxygen increases your blood pressure so that oxygenated blood flow to the heart and brain continues. The chronic increase in blood pressure creates heart disease.

In addition, though, heart disease and sleep apnea may often be found together in the same patient because both health issues are more common in men, in the obese, and in an older population.

OSA and Heart Disease Facts

• A Mayo Clinic study found that sleep apnea increases the chance of having a heart attack during sleep.

• According to a study conducted by Boston University School of Medicine, middle-aged men with OSA are 58 percent more likely to receive a heart disease diagnosis over an eight-year period.

• According to the same study, older men with severe sleep apnea were 68 percent more likely to develop coronary heart disease than those with mild or moderate sleep apnea.

Learn more: http://bit.ly/1B19GKT

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[-] 2Sleepy +0 points · almost 2 years ago

Interesting article. Thanks for posting.

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[-] ImaginativeEmeraldMule4678 +0 points · almost 2 years ago

You are very welcome. Glad you found the information interesting.

Thanks

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[-] SusanR +0 points · almost 2 years ago

Thanks for these posts and interest in this topic!!!

At the American Thoracic Society (ATS) last week, new research was presented from groups around the world.Here are some of the highlights from the ATS meeting related to heart disease:

a. An animal model of sleep apnea showed that short periods of hypoxia-similar to the drops in oxygen people experience with apnea-- can trigger heart arrhymias.

b.A study of older men showed that an increase in periodic limb movements during sleep-especially those leg "kicks" that cause the brain to arouse or waken- increases the risk of developing a serious heart arrhthymia called atrial fibrillation (which can increase risk of stroke).

c. A new study from Europe showed that patients with sleep apnea treated with CPAP who were able to wear CPAP at least 4 hours per night had a reduced risk of having a heart attack when followed for more than 7 years compared to untreated patients or those wearing CPAP for shorter periods. This is very promising information on the ability to lower risk of having a heart attack!

d. Harvard researchers reported that patients with diabetes plus sleep apnea have worse measures of vascular health than patients with either diabetes or sleep apnea--a double whammy.

e. A research group from Spain reported on the results of blood tests that measure the activation of genes that influence heart disease. They showed that these "heart" genes can be activated at higher levels in patients with sleep apnea compared to others. What this suggests is that sleep apnea stimulates the body to produce altered inflammatory proteins and fats that then cause heart disease. They also showed that the activation of these genes returned to "normal" in a subgroup of patients who seemed to get a cardiovascular benefit from using CPAP (as measured by lowering of blood pressure). This is very early work but gets at the idea of "personalizing" treatment--using blood markers to identify which patients respond to treatment.

Let me know what you think about these research news updates.

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[-] ImaginativeEmeraldMule4678 +0 points · almost 2 years ago

Yes, this is collaborative with research in many other fields as well. As we study the physiology of sleep and it’s impact systemically we are finding an explosion of connections between sleep and many disease states. We are getting closer to having the ability to utilize bio-markers in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep and measuring it’s impact on co-morbid conditions.

In an evolutionary perspective the need for sleep makes no sense, so the association of sleep with various mediators of inflammation, may provide a key insight as to the true function of sleep in the mammalian organism.

In the meantime, the benefits of treating sleep disorders is obvious.

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[-] 2Sleepy +0 points · almost 2 years ago

Hi SusanR,

I found the study C, most relevant to my life. I have managed to adjust to using CPAP, every night, usually around 6 or 7 hrs. It is good to know that there is research to support that 4 hrs or more / night, reduces the risk of heart attack. Learning to use CPAP was a major nightly hassle for about 2 months. Nice to know that research has been conducted over the long term, which demonstrates a significant decreased risk of heart attack. That info is a reward for the hassle and expense involved with getting a diagnosis and an interface /accessories to make CPAP work for me. Thanks for posting.

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[-] SusanR +0 points · almost 2 years ago

I am so hear to hear your story and hope others do too! As soon as the full study is published, I will let you and MyApnea know about it.

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[-] RoRo +0 points · almost 2 years ago

This is interesting. It's also how I found out I had OSA. I had gone to a cardiologist with symptoms of occasional heart "flutter". During the many tests he conducted, he recommended a sleep study which revealed my OSA. He mentioned that sleep apnea may be connected to heart problems. I probably would not know today that I have OSA if my cardio dr had not sent me to a sleep dr.

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[-] CompassionateByzantiumGiantPanda3490 +0 points · almost 2 years ago

I was glad to see the study results above, especially (b). It now makes more sence. I have AFIB (now under control after surgery) and can see the connection. After I started apnea therapy I was latter taken off meds except for one small baby aspirin. As I stated in another post - "Wear The Mask" and live.

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