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If you are someone suffering from sleep apnea, or maybe someone who has been dealing with disrupted sleep, you may be aware of the dangers of undiagnosed sleep apnea. One of the significant associations at the forefront of sleep apnea-induced issues is the direct correlation between heart disease and sleep apnea. We are going to dive into some of the findings and how heart disease and sleep apnea are related to one another and their effect.

People dealing with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) are more likely to have cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and high blood pressure. When you suffer from sleep apnea, you stop breathing, which causes the oxygen level in your body to fall and grabs the attention of receptors that will alert your brain. The brain will then send a signal to your blood vessels to increase the flow of oxygen to your heart and brain by tightening up.

Even though this is all happening at night, once the patient is awake, the occurrences from each night transfer over to the daytime. The low oxygen levels you had while asleep will continue to trigger different systems within your body during the daytime. Using a CPAP machine (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) during the evening keeps the patient’s blood pressure lower which then carries over into the daytime. Thus, lowering the risk of developing hypertension due to continued undiagnosed sleep apnea.

According to Harvard Health Publishing at Harvard Medical School, it has been found that sleep apnea patients can suffer from poor cardiovascular health. They go on to explain that “the sleep disorder is found in 47% to 83% of people with cardiovascular disease, 35% of people with high blood pressure, and 12% to 53% of people with heart failure, atrial fibrillation (a heart rhythm abnormality), and stroke.”

There are different ways to treat sleep apnea and stop cardiovascular disease from presenting itself. If you are having trouble sleeping, finding yourself exhausted during the day, not getting enough sleep and heavy snoring problems, it is best to consult your doctor to test for sleep apnea or another underlying issue. Although there is still extensive research that needs to be done regarding the correlation between heart disease and sleep apnea, researchers are aware there is a link between the two conditions and if caught soon enough, can be life saving.