Sleep Apnea May Predict Heart Attacks: Another Reason to Get Checked

Do you find yourself dragging throughout the day, or, do you feel rested and energized when you get up in the morning? Are you sleeping soundly, or, do you toss and turn and wake up multiple times during the night? If you wake up multiple times during the night, snore loudly, and find yourself dragging throughout the day, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. If you do you may be at greater risk of cardiac arrest because the latest research suggests that sleep apnea may predict heart attacks.

How you sleep could help you better understand the state of health you will experience in the future, particularly when it comes to your heart. Unfortunately, tens of millions today are plagued by insomnia, and this comes at a time when medical researchers and doctors are learning more and more that sleep is a cornerstone to good health. One common sleep disorder is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and is now being recognized as a way to predict future heart problems, possibly even the risk of heart attack.

Cardiovascular disease or heart disease is known to be strongly linked to OSA. In fact, patients who suffer from moderate to severe sleep apnea will also have some form of heart disease. More common conditions include things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and chest pain. Conditions as severe as a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure have also been associated with sleep apnea.

What can you expect if your doctor suggests that you should be tested for sleep apnea? Some things like how long a person sleeps, how many times a person stops breathing (OSA causes pauses in breathing during sleep), and how much oxygen is in the blood all contribute to an overall picture of a one’s level of sleep health. Doctors are now realizing that this picture does not only describe how a patient sleeps, it also provides clues into how the heart is working as well.

Because sleep apnea may predict heart attacks, doctors should evaluate patients who have sleep apnea for signs of heart disease. It can show weak spots, and if caught early, could save lives, too. All the systems in the body work together, and, when something goes wrong in one body system chances are something else in the body is impacted as well. Now, with a clearer picture, doctors can get more accurate results when it comes to pinpointing the connection between sleep troubles and your heart health.