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Archive for April 2017

The Dangerous Combination of Sleep Apnea and Hypertension

Snoring can affect just about anyone—even if you don’t realize you are doing it. While snoring occurs more frequently in men and those who are overweight, snoring tends to worsen with age. And, while occasional snoring is not very serious (and just a nuisance for your bed partner), it can be a risk for serious health problems, such as sleep apnea.  What is even worse, is the connection between sleep apnea and high blood pressure.

The Connection

Several studies have shown that sleep apnea and high blood pressure are quite the dangerous team—or should we say rivalries? When sleep apnea and high blood pressure are combined, it increases your risk for a stroke and heart attacks. Treatment of sleep apnea helps in lowering blood pressure. One treatment option might be an oral appliance, which helps to open the airway to encourage proper breathing at nighttime.

Lifestyle changes can also be beneficial for improving sleep apnea symptoms and diminishing hypertension. For example, losing weight if you are overweight, not drinking alcohol, and exercising regularly can all help in preventing the narrowing of your airway when you sleep.

Contact Dr. Bonnie Foster in Warrenton for sleep apnea treatment options in order to prevent hypertension and improve your health.

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Guard Your Heart and Treat Sleep Apnea

Snoring is an annoying act, especially for the person who listens to it every night—or maybe they’re lucky enough to fall asleep before you and don’t hear it. While snoring is annoying, if the snorer repeatedly stops breathing for brief moments throughout the night, it can lead to heart disease.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when a person’s breathing pauses every five to 30 minutes per hor or more during sleep. When these episodes of pauses in breathing, the sleeper will wake up because they gasp for air. This prevents restful sleep and is commonly associated with high blood pressure, arrhythmia, stroke and heart failure.

Approximately one in five adults suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea, with more men suffering from this condition than women. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in which weight on the upper chest and neck contributes to blocking the flow of air. OSA is associated with obesity, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

The Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease

Sleep apnea can lead to heart attacks, which cause people to die in the middle of the night due to low oxygen or the stress of waking up frequently during sleep. As you might know, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, while stroke takes fourth place for the cause of death and a leading cause of disability—high blood pressure is a major risk in both conditions.

The relationship between sleep apnea, hypertension and cardiovascular disease is very strong, which makes it vital that everyone understand this connection and seek treatment immediately.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea

To help minimize your chances of heart disease, it is important to receive proper treatment for your sleep apnea. While the most common treatment option is CPAP therapy, many people are non-compliant, meaning they can’t deal with the treatment or it is uncomfortable. An improved option for treatment from Dr. Foster is oral appliance therapy. Like a mouth guard in appearance, an oral appliance works to prevent your tongue from falling over your through during sleep. This helps to open the airway and keep you breathing throughout the night.

Contact Dr. Bonnie Foster in Warrenton, VA to learn more about the sleep apnea and heart disease connection. Seeking proper treatment can make all the difference you need to live a healthy life.

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Change Your Sleep Position

Have you ever thought about which sleep position is the best for your sleep? Understanding various sleep positions can help you better understand how to improve your sleep patterns. The sleep position you choose, directly affects your quality of sleep. Let’s take a look at the best and worst positions for sleeping.

The Worst Position

For one person, sleeping on the back might be the best, while another might be a side sleeper. To determine the best and worst position for you, simply sleep. Yes, that’s right—sleep. However, if you snore or suffer from sleep apnea, back sleeping is a big no-no. By sleeping on your back you may obstruct your airway, so try to sleep on your side to open your airway back up. An oral appliance will help with this as well.

The Best Position

If you suffer from sleep apnea, side sleeping may be the best choice because it helps keep your airways open. Research suggests that sleeping on your left side can relieve heartburn symptoms, while right side sleeping makes them worse. Remember to go with the flow and allow your body to fall into its intended position. And, yes, your mattress does matter—if it is worn and damaged, you could negatively impact your quality of sleep. No one stays in one position all night—doing so is bad for circulation—and it varies from person to person.

Contact our Warrenton, VA office to learn more about sleep positions and how sleep apnea might be affecting your rest.

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