Can a Sleep Disorders Cause Heart Disease?

Getting a good night’s sleep often feels like a luxury our fast-past society. Average nightly sleep duration has actually decreased 1.5 to 2 hours in the past 50 years; as a result, individuals are less likely to get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night. However, getting adequate sleep plays an integral role in overall health and even impacts heart health. Those with shortened sleep cycles or sleep disorders are at a higher risk of heart disease than their peers.

As many as 70 million American are victim to chronic sleep disorders. These individuals experience regular disturbances in their sleep cycle and this fragmentation prevents them from achieving restorative sleep, which can help lower the heart rate. Experts theorize that this helps regulate blood pressure, which means shortened sleep cycles may equate to a heightened risk of hypertension (high blood pressure).

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One of the most infamous sleep disorders is obstructive sleep apnea. Individuals with sleep apnea experience a constriction or collapse of their airway during sleep, which hinders an individual’s ability to breathe while sleeping. The restriction of air to the heart can place severe stress on the circulatory system and lead to heart disease. Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • Excessive snoring
  • Chronic daytime sleepiness
  • Regular headaches
  • Sweating or chest pain during sleep

In order to prevent heart disease, individuals with sleep disorders should seek treatment from an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist. These healthcare professionals will diagnose and treat the underlying cause of any sleep-related disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. Common sleep apnea treatments include weight loss, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), oral appliances or surgery.

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. To learn more, schedule a consultation at one of Houston’s best ENT clinics – The Center for ENT. Contact our staff today at Center for ENT 713-795-5343.

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