Heart Conditions Associated With Sleep-related Breathing Disorders

If your snoring has ever woken you up or if your partner frequently nudges you awake because of it, you may be affected by sleep apnea, and this can harm your heart. At Florida Sleep Specialists, located in Bradenton and Sarasota, FL, Dr. Jeremy McConnell can evaluate you for a sleep-related breathing disorder to avoid the negative impacts it can have on your heart and body.

Not All Snoring is Sleep Apnea

A sleep apnea disorder causes your breathing to start and stop while you sleep. Snoring is the sound that occurs as air passes in your throat during sleep. Even though not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, many that do have sleep apnea snore regularly. Therefore, it is worth checking out to be safe.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea and is caused by a tissue obstruction in your airway that blocks airflow. Central sleep apnea (CSA) is caused by the brain failing to signal your diaphragm to contract and expand. Both are serious issues that must not go untreated.

How Does Sleep Apnea Affect My Heart?

When you have obstructive sleep apnea, it isn't easy to keep your airway open while sleeping, and each time it closes, your breathing pauses. The pauses can occur five to 30 times an hour, and this causes you to wake up suddenly, sometimes gasping for air.

When you stop breathing, your body will release stress hormones that can cause heart disease over time. You can also be at an increased risk for stroke, liver disease, diabetes, or exacerbating an already present obesity diagnosis that leads to heart disease.

Am I at Risk for Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease?

Several risk factors contribute to heart disease and sleep apnea, and they include:

  • Overweight or obesity
  • Thick neck
  • Narrow throat passages
  • Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
  • Male (higher risk than women)
  • Family history of sleep apnea, smoking, or alcohol abuse

What are the Signs?

Loud snoring with witnessed frequent pauses in breathing are the first signs to look for, but other symptoms include:

  • Waking up with a dry mouth or headache
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Irritability
  • Inability to concentrate or hold attention

How Can I Be Sure?

Dr. McConnell at Florida Sleep Specialists, located in Bradenton and Sarasota, FL, can evaluate your symptoms and conduct proper testing, like monitoring you overnight. This screening test can diagnose and determine the severity of your sleep apnea.

One particular test is called polysomnography, and it will allow Dr. McConnell to monitor your heart, lungs, and brain activity. At the same time, he can diagnose other possible sleep disorders like restless leg syndrome.

To learn more, call Dr. McConnell at Florida Sleep Specialists at his office in Bradenton, FL, at (941) 792-8383, or the office in Sarasota, FL, at (941) 827-0701 today.

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