Patients with sleep apnea usually also suffer from heart disease, and hypertension (high blood pressure). Usually both dangerous conditions. Patients often ask, “Can sleep apnea cause a heart attack?”
The Connection between Sleep Apnea and Heart Attacks
Mayo Clinic Heart Attack Study
The Mayo Clinic conducted a large study in partnership with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), that meticulously watched over 10,000 people with sleep apnea. The study lasted five years. In that time, 142 people died from a heart-related episode. Scientists also found that people that were over 60, and those who stopped breathing 20 times or more per hour due to their sleep apnea, were more likely to have a cardiac episode.
Sleep Apnea and Oxygen Depletion
Your bloodstream is dependent on your lungs for the transfer of carbon dioxide for oxygen. In obstructive sleep apnea the muscles of the back of the throat and tongue collapse and occlude the trachea. Your blood builds-up carbon dioxide, and your blood doesn’t get oxygen. Both are dangerous for the cardiovascular system. The body fights for air and blood vessels are constricted in a vain effort to get more blood and oxygen transfers. This increases your blood pressure. Thus, sleep apnea deprives your body, organs, brain and heart of oxygen.
It is very common in sleep apnea to stop breathing for twenty times or more and hour. When this happens the blood oxygen level drops 22 %. When you multiply these drop by years, and add in obesity or lung disease, the outcome can be deadly.
Manage Sleep Apnea
Preventing a cardiac episode starts with managing your sleep apnea. Letting your sleep apnea go undiagnosed and untreated can lead to major health complications that extend beyond your sleep. There are a number of treatment options for sleep apnea, a few are:
Avoid Alcohol and sleeping medication – these can increase the loss of muscle tone of the throat and tongue making the obstruction of the trachea easier.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) – a mask is worn over the mouth. High pressured air is rammed down the throat to prevent the collapse of the airway.
Lifestyle Changes – smoking, obesity, and sedentary lifestyles are just some of the factors known to increase the likelihood and severity of sleep apnea. Eliminating or reducing these risk factors will significantly decrease the presence and severity of sleep apnea in most individuals.
Mandibular Advancement Device – this oral appliance moves the lower jaw down and forward. This motion opens the airway to allow for an unrestricted air way. Patients find Mandibular Advancement Devices are way easier than a CPAP.
If you think you have sleep apnea, have been diagnosed and hate your CPAP then call our office at 832-487-0647. Or come visit us at 3421 Burke Rd #1, Pasadena Texas 77504.