Tag Archive | "heart"

High Blood Pressure is Connected to Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Snoring

The High Blood Pressure and Sleep Apnea Connection

Depending on what side of the fence you are on, you may or may not feel that our entire body is connected in some way.  How all of the systems of the human body interact may never be understood completely, however, there is growing evidence that the link between obstructive sleep apnea with hypertension or high blood pressure is very clear.  First though, we have to make sure we are clear what both of these medical conditions are.

High Blood Pressure

Hypertension aka high blood pressure results when the heart goes through quick changes of beats per minute.  It is similar to a car engine that goes from sitting idle to instantly running at full speed.  Think of what that would be like on your car engine, and then think of what that would be like on your own body. Especially if it was doing that all night long, and while you were sleeping.  Scary thought for sure.  That is the basics of high blood pressure.  The heart works to feed the body with oxygen because it knows that without oxygen, the body can not function properly.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

OSA or sleep apnea is a simple concept.  It takes place when a person is constantly blocking the passage of air to the lungs.  This takes place as you might expect when someone is sleeping.  When there is a blockage of air, that creates a sudden loss of oxygen to the body which can cause all sorts of problems.  Sleep apnea is also very closely associated with snoring but there are a few important differences.  People who snore do not all have obstructive sleep apnea, and people who do not snore may also have sleep apnea.

The Connection

Now lets look at the chain of events in a person who suffers from obstructive sleep apnea and the relation to hypertension and high blood pressure.  We will go in a step by step review:

  1. An airway obstruction occurs from an apnea event (50% or more blockage of the airway)
  2. Oxygen levels go down in the body (lungs, brain, blood, organs)
  3. Heart rate drops due to low oxygen levels
  4. Before death occurs, the brain wakes up the person and causes an arousal and movement to open airway
  5. Airway is opened and allows airflow
  6. Lungs fill up with air
  7. Heart recognizes the new oxygen and begins beating like crazy increasing heart rate
  8. Oxygenated blood flows to the rest of the body
  9. Another airway obstruction occurs and the process repeats itself

From the steps above you can see exactly where the heart fits in and connects with the sleep apnea events.  With such rapid changes in heart rate, it affects the blood pressure dramatically and it is a vicious cycle that does not end in severe patients until they either wake up or die.  To understand more about treatments for obstructive sleep apnea please visit the CPAP therapy page which details what can be done to stop this cycle.

Alternatively, you can ask your doctor about high blood pressure medications, however they will be ultimately in-effective with helping you because the root cause here of the hypertension is the sleep apnea itself.

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Having a Hard Time Sleeping at Night

Maybe you are having a hard time sleeping at night.  Or maybe you are finding yourself waking up for no apparent reason and your heart is racing in the middle of the night?

Or maybe you know somone or sleep next to someone who is always waking up and snoring during the night? Is that you?

If the answer is yes, you are first off not alone.  Many millions of people all over the world suffer from all types of sleeping disorders.  Some can be dangerous to one’s health, others not so much.

One of the most common sleeping disorders is Obstructive Sleep Apnea(OSA).

What you should do if you are finding yourself in this situation, is talk to your doctor or do some other research on the internet to gain a better understanding of what OSA is and how it is treated.  When left un-treated, it can lead to many health problems down the road, and it could very well be the direct cause for your current state of tiredness, high blood pressure, or even erectile dysfunction.

But the best news is that it can be treated, and it doesn’t have to be the end of the world for anyone.

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Cardiologists Have Alot to Learn about Sleep Apnea

Why is it that when you walk into most cardiologist’s doctor offices, they rarely will admit that their patients have sleep apnea?

This is a question that most people should be wondering about.  It’s just like walking into a endocrinologist’s office and he/she tells you they never see obese patients.

When you look at all of the clinical data, it all suggests that patients who have cardiovascular disease also have a very likelihood of having sleep apnea.  Or at a bare minimum, this is a very high risk group for having OSA.  When you think about the physics here, it just makes sense.

When you have sleep apnea, you are snoring usually much of the night, your airway is closing, and your body is not getting much oxygen.  And when the airway is clear, your heart starts pumping like crazy to make up for lost time, and lost oxygen in your system.  This nasty combination which can happen over and over again all night long leads to heart problems in many.  Heart attacks, and also strokes.

So why?  Why cardiologists would you think that your patients for some reason don’t have sleep apnea.  Or why would you think that sleep apnea is something that you should not worry about?  Is it because you don’t care about your patient’s health?  I don’t think that is the answer.  Or is it because you went to medical school so long ago that they didn’t have any of the current studies available for you to read?  Why?  What’s the reason.  Especially when recent studies show how roughly 50% of congestive heart failure patients have obstructive sleep apnea!

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist mr. cardiologist.  You just need to smell some coffee every once in a while.  Start screening your patients for sleep apnea.  If you want to learn how to do that, just go and read the information on how to screen for OSA.

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