Many Americans dream of a good night’s sleep. But for nearly 70 percent of them, it’s not an easy task. A number of sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, are interrupting dream time — and may be hurting your heart.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition in which breathing is interrupted during sleep multiple times during the night. Sleep apnea may result in a number of heart problems, including high blood pressure, heart failure, irregular heartbeats and heart attacks.
New research suggests that many deaths in people over 40, previously attributed to heart disease, may actually be a result of undiagnosed sleep apnea. Because sleep apnea affects sleeping individuals, it is often overlooked or not diagnosed immediately. It is often first diagnosed by their partners or spouses.
For most sufferers, sleep disorders are due to busy lives, napping, depression, anxiety, caffeine or other stimulants, being overweight, a family history of sleep apnea or simply getting older. The symptoms include waking during the night with a choking sensation, feeling sleepy during the day, morning headaches and repeated awakenings.
If you exhibit the symptoms listed above or have a family history of heart disease or other cardiac risk factors, contact your health care provider as soon as possible. Don’t let either one of these silent diseases harm your heart — or interrupt your nightly rest.