Heart disease: Could sleep disorders play a role?

Heart disease: Could sleep disorders play a role?

A good night sleep is something which we all crave for. Getting proper sleep often feels like a luxury in our fast paced life. The right amount of sleep is crucial to a person’s ability to function properly in a day-to-day life. Sleeping too much or too little may have many health consequences.

The connection between sleep apnea and heart disease is growing quite rapidly. People with cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke have a higher prevalence of sleep apnea. The question however is, what is a sleep disorder.

What is a sleep disorder?

Many of us experience trouble sleeping at one time or another. Usually, it’s due to stress, travel, illness or some other interruptions in a person’s normal routine. But if sleep problems are a regular occurrence then you may be suffering from a sleep disorder. It can take a serious toll on your mental & physical health.

How is sleep disorders linked to heart problems?

Individuals with sleep apnea experience a constriction or collapse of their airway during sleep, which hinders an individual’s ability to breathe while sleeping. Restricted air passage to the heart can place severe stress on the circulatory system and lead to cardiac arrest. Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea are as follows:

  • Chronic sleepiness during daytime
  • Excessive snoring
  • Regular headaches
  • Chest pain/sweating during sleep

What actually happens is that your blood pressure will go up because when you’re not breathing, the oxygen level in your body falls and alert the brain. In response, the brain sends signals through the nervous system and triggers the blood vessels to “tighten up” in order to increase the oxygen supply to the heart and brain. The problem occurs mainly in the daytime when the person is awake. The low oxygen levels at night seem to activate multiple mechanisms that persist during the daytime, even as the patient starts breathing normally. This results in heart problems a later age.

Help yourself!

You can always try to improve sleep disorders by following few simple things:

  • Scheduled bedtime – Support your biological clock by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, including weekends.
  • Exercise – Regular exercise can improve the symptoms of many sleep disorders and problems. Aim for it but not too close to bedtime.
  • No napping – Napping during the day can make it more difficult to sleep at night.
  • Cut on caffeine – Stop drinking caffeinated beverages, it interferes with the quality of your sleep and can amplify sleep disorder symptoms.
  • Avoid late meals – Heavy, rich foods can take a lot of work for your stomach to digest and spicy or acidic foods can cause heartburn.

In order to prevent heart disease, individuals with sleep disorders should seek treatment from a specialist. Adequate sleep is essential for a healthy heart. To reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, it is important to be proactive in treating sleep deprivation. Consult an expert Cardiologist at Ask Apollo now!

Authored by: Team Apollo

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