Saturday, July 11, 2009

Heart disease and sleep apnea

Heart disease and sleep apnea unfortunately have a connection. I know this first hand because my father died of a heart attack and he had sleep apnea. As I have written in an earlier post when he started to have heart attacks no one talked about sleep apnea. No one ever mentioned the term, so he didn’t know that he had a sleeping disorder.

What does sleep apnea do to the heart?
Sleep apnea causes breathing to stop many times, even hundreds of times during the night. The sleep apnea sufferer wakes up to catch their breath and then fall back to sleep only to wake again a few minutes later. This happens so many times that they don’t even remember waking up. The body has to wake up because of the fear of suffocation. The effect of the vicious cycle is the loss of oxygen to the body.

This condition may lead to coronary heart disease and high blood pressure. And if you already have heart disease from some other cause sleep apnea will make it much worse.

The scary part about all this is that there are millions of people who can’t sleep and don’t know why. They could have sleep apnea but are reluctant to be tested or they don’t want to bother with the testing and the eventual wearing of the cpap mask.

And there are people who don’t even know about sleep apnea. They may have this and never get treated for it.

Fortunately, there seems to be an effort on the internet and by certain agencies to get the word out about this terrible condition.

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