Congestive Heart Failure

Can Sleep Apnea Cause Congestive Heart Failure?

Not only may sleep apnea be a cause of congestive heart failure, but the presence of congestive heart failure may also trigger or worsen sleep-disordered breathing.

Can sleep apnea cause an enlarged heart?

Yes, with each apnea event your body tells your heart to beat faster and your blood pressure to go up. Severe obstructive sleep apnea can also cause stress on your heart causing the heart to get enlarged. An enlarged heart can cause the heart to get less oxygen and work less efficiently.

congestive heart failure


The National Institute for Health examined the relationship between heart disease and sleep apnea. Scientists reported data that suggests that sleep apnea may be a cause of heart disease.

  • 10 percent of men and 5 percent of women are estimated to have sleep apnea.
  • Congestive heart failure affects 2.5 million Americans, about 10% of the population.
  • In obstructive sleep apnea, often marked by snoring, the right side of the heart may suffer damage because it has to pump harder to support the extra effort of the lungs trying to overcome the obstruction of the airway. When patients with congestive heart failure were tested in a sleep laboratory, almost fifty percent had severe apnea which had not been previously diagnosed.
  • Several obese patients with both obstructive sleep apnea and heart failure were treated for sleep apnea. They showed great improvement with increased energy and lessened fatigue, lower blood pressure, and a more positive outlook as a result of this treatment.
  • People who snore heavily and have pauses in breathing may be at risk for heart disease.
  • Central apnea may cause high blood pressure, surges of adrenaline, and irregular heartbeats. (Central apnea occurs without snoring and is not caused by obstruction, rather it is caused by the failure of the brain to signal for a breath)

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