It’s likely that you’ve heard that regular exercise and a healthy diet are the most vital actions you can take to improve your heart health. It turns out that the quality of your sleep is also crucial to the well-being of your heart.
Particularly, sleep apnea can affect metabolic and cardiovascular health. The most frightening aspect? You may not even be aware that you’re suffering from this common problem.
“Sleep apnea occurs when upper airway muscles relax while you sleep and squeeze the airway, which stops you from breathing in enough air. Your breathing could stop for 10 or more seconds until your muscles begin to activate and you begin breathing again.
Sleep apnea can be found in around 3 percent of healthy-weight people but it is a problem for more than 20% of overweight individuals, Jun says. Sleep apnea generally is more prevalent in males than females. However, rates of sleep apnea are significantly higher in women who have menopausal change, which is linked to heart disease and metabolic problems like diabetes.
Which are indications of sleep apnea?
There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructional sleep apnea, and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is when air cannot flow through or out through the mouth or nose even though you’re trying to breathe. Central sleep apnea is because the brain doesn’t send the appropriate signals to muscles to allow you to begin breathing. (This kind of sleep apnea is not as common. )
“Sleep Apnea can be observed more by your partner as opposed to the person sleeping,” says Jun. “Your partner in bed might be able to observe your breathing patterns, or complain about the loud noises you make. “
While it is annoying, isn’t snoring similar to sleep apnea? Snoring is simply the sound that is created due to airway obstruction. Snoring can be loud and not suffer from sleep apnea. In fact, you might even suffer from sleep apnea with no snoring.
Sleep apnea sufferers may also experience unprovoked depression and fatigue due to their breathing disturbances constantly cause them to wake up and prevent them from sleeping deep, restful sleep.
The consequences could be severe, Jun says. “We’re talking about car crashes in the morning, reduced productivity at work mood swings, getting up feeling tired and falling asleep during class. “
Others who suffer from the condition may awake with dry mouth as sleep apnea can cause you to breathe through your mouth open which causes saliva to dry out. Some sufferers wake up with headaches and this can be caused in intensity due to high or low oxygen carbon dioxide levels in sleep.
Sleep apnea, heart risk, and metabolism
A number of studies have revealed the connection between sleep apnea and issues like strokes, type 2 diabetes and coronary heart attack, an accelerated aging process, says Jun. What’s the connection? First, overweight is a common occurrence in patients with sleep apnea and being overweight significantly increases the risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart attack, says Jun. “In most cases, it is obesity that is the most significant cause behind the two diseases,” Jun explains.
However, it’s crucial to remember that not all suffers from sleep apnea has obesity. There is evidence that indicates a strong connection between sleep apnea, and diabetes. “Our lab, along with others, have demonstrated that sleep apnea may be linked with increased risk of developing diabetes, regardless of obesity, and that sleeping apnea may raise blood sugar levels,” Jun.
For those who are overweight or overweight, losing weight is crucial to treat or preventing sleep apnea. People who have accumulated fat in throat, the tongue and the upper belly are particularly susceptible to developing sleep apnea. The weight decreases the size of the throat, and presses into the lung, leading to the collapse of the airway during sleep.
Women, particularly, must be cautious when they get older. Women who are premenopausal tend to gain weight on the lower part of the body and hips rather than the belly, this changes over time. The weight is accumulated in the traditionally “male” parts such as the stomach, which leads to a higher risk of sleep apnea.
” Menopausal changes in hormones and women begin appearing like men when it comes to the places the weight gain occurs. It’s the time to be aware of the dangers of sleep apnea since women start to catch up with men in the rate of apnea after menopausal,” Jun says.15
The diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea to improve health
It is crucial to treat sleep apnea as it could cause long-term harm to your health. Although some notable deaths have been linked to sleep apnea — such for the late Judge Antonin Scalia, Jun says the main risk comes due to the damage that has been done over time.
Obstructive sleep apnea may range from mild to severe determined by a measurement method known as the apnea-hypopnea indicator (AHI). The AHI is a measure of the number of breathing pauses that you experience while during sleep.
Sleep apnea with obstruction due to the severity:
- Severe obstruction to sleep apnea is when your AHI is more than 30/hour.
- Moderately sleep apnea with obstruction signifies that your AHI is in the range of 15 to 29.
- Mild Obstructive Sleep apnea is when your AHI falls somewhere between 5 to 14.
If you require treatments for sleep apnea is contingent on the severity of the condition and the extent to which you suffer from symptoms like insomnia and other health issues. If, for instance, you are at risk to develop heart diseases, your physician may decide to treat you, even for sleep apnea that is mild. However in the event that you suffer from an extreme sleep apnea problem or other sleep disorders, your doctor may insist on treatment even when you’re not snoring.
The most effective treatment is a breathing device known as an CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure device). The CPAP machine carries humidified air into the nasal passages, which cause pressure that keeps your throat open even when you sleep. It stops breathing pauses.
“CPAP is the primary treatment, and it’s extremely efficient,” Jun says. What happens to metabolism during the night, when patients with sleep apnea don’t wear CPAP? The study revealed that the resultant apnea led to an increase in blood sugar and blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones. This is similar to the one you’d experience should you stand up in the midst of a crowd and speak. “It’s quite similar to this type of anxiety response” claims Jun. “I would like to compare sleep apnea to something similar to what happens every night. “
It’s not the most relaxing, is it? Luckily, it’s treatable.
Numerous studies have shown that the regular usage of CPAP lowers blood pressure and enhances the quality of your sleep throughout the daytime. Sleep apnea sufferers who utilize CPAP are also reported to have an improvement in their health and quality of life. In some studies of observation which compare the people suffering from sleep apnea using CPAP against those who do not in the study, CPAP users have lower risks of heart attack or stroke, as well as lower blood sugar levels, Jun says.
In the event that you, or your partner have observed signs of sleep apnea consult your physician. A sleep specialist will be able to order an exam for sleep apnea, which utilizes equipment to measure the oxygen levels and breathing as you rest. Most often, you’ll go to an institute for night observing. Sometimes, it’s possible to utilize a take-home kit. You’ll feel more secure knowing the outcomes.