Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sleep apnea and cardiomyopathy

It is well known that sleep apnea can cause heart disease among other things. What is really disturbing is that sleep apnea can cause the actual deterioration of the heart muscle which is called cardiomyopathy.

Cardiomyopathy is where the function of the heart muscle is at risk which could lead to a heart attack. Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common type where the heart is enlarged and its ability to pump blood is diminished. The left ventricle of the heart is usually affected.

The most common cause of cardiomyopathy is ischemia where there is a shortage of blood supply to vital organs like the heart. This lack of blood and oxygen can cause tissue damage of leading to cardiomyopathy.

Symptoms of cardiomyopathy are:

  • Being dizzy 
  • Being tired 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Swelling of ankles and legs 
  • Chest pain 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Loss of appetite 
The connection between sleep apnea and cardiomyopathy is that sleep apnea contributes to ischemia. Obstructive sleep apnea reduces the amount of oxygen to the blood supply which in turn reduces the amount going to the myocardium (heart muscle).

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  1. Interesting post. I like your blog, and a good portion of your information would most likely benefit anyone who visited my blog. I try to stick to people with central sleep apnea, but a lot of the times the information is relevant for sleep apnea disorders in general. I plan on mentioning this in my blog (, as a resource for people with OSA to check it out. I recently discussed sleep apnea and heart conditions, so if you feel like comparing or checking out any of my other posts that'd be great. Keep up the good work and best of luck with your treatment.

  2. Thanks Mike! I checked out your site and it is really good. I will add it to my links.