Sleep -- Sleep Apnea & Heart Disease

(This is paraphrased from an article appearing in "IN CHARGE!" ...
a publication of Pfizer Inc., and brought to us by
Morristown (NJ) Cardiology Associates. )


Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea:
Who's at Risk???
You have been observed to snore loudly Male
You have been observed to stop breathing while sleeping African American

You have been observed to choke or gasp forbreath during sleep

You frequently have headaches upon awakening A loud snorer
You feel tired or sleepy during the day

If you have high blood pressure

You are overweight or feel depressed If you have a physical abnormality in nose or throat or family member with the disease


While you are sleeping soundly, your body works behind the scenes, repairing and restoring tissues. So if you don't get a solid six to eight hours of slumber every night, you run the risk of damaging your health.

A condition called sleep apnea has been closely linked to heart health. People who have it snore heavily and loudly. Often the sleepers don't even know they are waking up--all they know is that they feel tired during the day. In most cases, sleep apnea occurs when throat tissue collapses, preventing air from getting into the lungs. The blocked airway interrupts the sleeper's breathing,causing him/her to wake up.

The NHL Institute study shows that middle aged and older adults with sleep apnea have a 45% greater risk of high blood pressure and the more sever the sleep apnea, the highter the blood pressure. And high blood pressure is a serious risk factor for heart attack, stroke and other complicatons.

In another link between sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease, researchers have found that more than half of those with congestive heart failure (CHF) alsohave the sleep disorder. In one study patients with CHF and sleep apnea stopped breathing about 44 times an hour. Resarchers think this may put further strain on an already weak heart.

One approach is to change certain behaviors--avoid alcohol, tobacco and sleeping pills and losing weight. Or, a common treatment involves a mask that forces air through the nasal passages, keeping airways open.

Sites (Links) for Sleep Apnea Information:

Talk About Sleep
Recommended by several folks on our site with sleep problems.

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Last Modified on February 3, 2002

Please note: We are not medical doctors
nor are we in the healthcare field!
Whatever you read here, or at any website
should not be misconstrued as medical advice.
ONLY your doctor can prescribe what is best for you.