Risk of Heart Attack Increases in Sleep Apnea Sufferers

by Jodee on July 16, 2010

People who suffer from sleep apnea are at a higher risk for heart disease, according to the results of a study released by the American Heart Association. Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where the individual experiences an interruption in his or her breathing during sleep.

This condition affects approximately 24 percent of men and nine percent of women. Snoring is one symptom, but people who have sleep apnea may also experience drowsiness during the day, a lack of quality sleep and a choking or gasping sensation when they wake up. Headaches in the morning may also be a sign of sleep apnea.

The study followed a total of 4,422 participants (1,927 men and 2,495 women) over a 8 1/2 year period. When the study started, all of them were screened and had healthy hearts.

heart failure imageThe male study subjects who had sleep apnea had a 58 percent higher risk of developing heart failure Their risk of having heart attack was 68 percent higher than for men who didn’t have the sleep issue. The female participants who had sleep apnea were not at a higher risk for coronary events, though.

When sleep apnea has been diagnosed, a patient may be advised to try a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. It introduces pressurized air into the individual’s airway on a constant basis through a face mask that is worn during sleep. While this option is an effective way to deal with sleep apnea, it is not very comfortable.

Surgical treatment is a more expensive option for sleep apnea patients, but it can very effective in dealing with this health issue. A Maxillomandibular Advancement is performed to move the top and bottom jaw forward and help keep airways open during sleep.

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