February is recognized as American Heart Month.
If you think you may have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), one of the best things you can do for your heart is to get tested and treated.
OSA has been known to lead to a number of health issues, from feeling lethargic and continually tired, to life-threatening conditions that are much harder to correct.
And when it comes to your heart, OSA can cause potential health issues in a myriad of ways.
Here’s a look at some of the ways that OSA can affect your heart health:
Higher Blood Pressure
One of the most common effects of obstructive sleep apnea is a rise in blood pressure in patients across the board. The sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that naturally occur with OSA increase blood pressure well after you open your eyes.
As a result, people with OSA have a noticeably higher risk of high blood pressure (or hypertension) than people who don’t.
Increased Risk of Heart Attack
OSA increases a person’s risk of a heart attack, as well as abnormal heartbeats.
In addition, if a patient already has an underlying heart disease, the multiple episodes of low blood oxygen levels that correspond with OSA can lead to death from irregular heartbeats.
Heart Disease and Other Cardiovascular Problems
With obstructive sleep apnea, excess strain is put on the cardiovascular system on a nightly basis. As a result, it’s much easier to develop a number of heart and cardiovascular issues, including heart disease.
Metabolic syndrome is a disorder where the risk factors of heart disease are all combined. These factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a tendency to be overweight – which are all tied into obstructive sleep apnea as well.
Obstructive sleep apnea and weight gain are inherently linked, although it can be hard to tell which condition causes the other.
A thicker neck circumference is certainly a factor when developing OSA. It also slows down your metabolism and energy levels, and leads to weight gain.
In any case, extra weight puts added pressure on your heart. Both weight gain and OSA can lead to heart-affecting conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance.
OSA can certainly have a big impact on your heart. But the good news is that it’s never too late to get help!
One of the hardest aspects of OSA is actually diagnosing the problem.
Luckily, the ensuing treatments are simple, painless, and integrate seamlessly with your daily life and sleeping routine. They are even often covered by health insurance companies.
So if you think you may have OSA, what are you waiting for? February’s distinction as National Heart Month is a perfect excuse to go and get tested.
Once you start treating OSA, the risks to your heart health naturally go down. You’ll find that you feel healthier, happier, and better rested in every way.
Do you have questions about OSA and getting tested? Contact us anytime, or ask in the comments below.