Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

Did You Know That Sleep Apnea Raises Your Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death?

Did You Know That Sleep Apnea Raises Your Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death?

You might think snoring is the biggest issue that sleep apnea causes. But did you know that if you’re one of the 18 million American adults diagnosed with sleep apnea, you’re at a higher risk of developing heart disease or dying from a sudden cardiac event?

The good news is that effective treatments exist to help you manage your sleep disorder. At The Beverly Hills Lung and Sleep Institute, our board-certified providers offer personalized sleep apnea treatments for patients in the Los Angeles, California area. 

Our doctors also believe in the power of patient education, so we’ve created this guide to help you better understand the link between sleep apnea and heart health. Here’s what you need to know. 

Understanding sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that means you stop breathing for short periods while you sleep. Different types of this condition exist. Here’s a closer look:

Most people have obstructive sleep apnea. With this form of sleep disorder, the muscles in your throat relax too much when you sleep. As a result, you appear to stop breathing periodically, and you also usually snore loudly.

Another type of sleep apnea is central sleep apnea, which develops because of a misfiring of signals between your brain and your throat muscles. This type is less common than obstructive sleep apnea, but it can trigger the same symptoms. 

Finally, some people have combined-type sleep apnea. You’re diagnosed with this condition if you have both central and obstructive sleep apnea. 

Since sleep apnea happens when you’re asleep, it’s often challenging to know if you have the condition. Snoring or “loud” sleeping is a key sign, but unless the person you sleep near tells you that you have these symptoms, you might not realize it. 

Sleep apnea also triggers daytime symptoms. If you experience any of the following, be sure to schedule a consultation with a provider at The Beverly Hills Lung and Sleep Institute for an evaluation:

Untreated sleep apnea can also lead to memory issues and trouble concentrating during daytime activities. 

The link between sleep apnea and cardiac disease

Recent research shows that untreated sleep apnea is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, like abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia), heart failure, and coronary heart disease. 

In fact, people with sleep apnea are 140% more likely to experience heart failure than those without the condition! While scientists are still researching to better understand this link, they hypothesize that sleep apnea increases cardiac disease in several key ways:

Sleep apnea stresses your body, causing your blood pressure and heart rate to rise. This means your heart has to work harder to get enough blood to your brain and your body. Increased blood pressure also means there’s less oxygen circulating through your body.

Combined, these factors put extra pressure on your heart and the walls of your arteries, making it more likely for you to die from sudden cardiac death.

Treating sleep apnea

Before creating a personalized sleep apnea treatment plan, your provider at The Beverly Hills Lung and Sleep Institute first diagnoses which type of sleep apnea you have. Your provider takes into account your symptoms and personal preferences and may recommend:

If you’re concerned you may have sleep apnea, or to get personalized treatment advice, schedule an appointment online or over the phone with one of our providers at The Beverly Hills Lung and Sleep Institute today. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

Tips for Managing Asthma in the Summer

Tips for Managing Asthma in the Summer

While summer may say it’s time for freedom and fun, there’s no doubt the hot season can be a challenge for people with asthma. If you’re worried, keep reading to learn our top tips for what you can do to keep your asthma under control.
Spotting the Warning Signs of Lung Cancer

Spotting the Warning Signs of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a serious disease, but it doesn’t always trigger obvious symptoms. Understanding the signs of lung cancer could mean an earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment. Here’s what you need to know.

When a Cough Becomes a Concern

Everyone coughs from time to time, but a chronic cough could be a sign that something more serious is going on. Here’s a look at some signs it’s time to see a doctor about your cough and the ways we can help.
4 Myths About COPD: There's Treatment and Help

4 Myths About COPD: There's Treatment and Help

Feeling anxious after being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)? Unfortunately, the many myths about it can add to your fears. Read on to discover the truth about COPD and treatments to improve your quality of life.
5 Tips to Prevent Spring Asthma Flare-Ups

5 Tips to Prevent Spring Asthma Flare-Ups

If you have asthma, it’s important to know how this serious breathing disorder can trigger different symptoms. Many people with the condition suffer from flare-ups during the spring when the weather changes. Here are five tips to help keep it under control