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.