February is American Heart Month. Did you know that sleep apnea impacts heart health? According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, nearly 30 million American adults are kept from restful sleep by obstructive sleep apnea, a chronic disease that involves the repeated collapse of the upper airway during sleep.
Left untreated, moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea can more than double your risk of dying from heart disease.
According to the AASM, there are five key warning signs and risk factors for sleep apnea: snoring, choking or gasping during sleep, fatigue or daytime sleepiness, obesity (BMI of 30 or higher) and high blood pressure.
“We estimate that about 23.5 million Americans have undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea, which increases their risk for heart problems,” said AASM President Dr. Kelly A. Carden. “Anyone who experiences snoring, choking or gasping during sleep should talk to a medical provider about their risk for sleep apnea.”
The AASM warns that untreated, severe obstructive sleep apnea hurts HEARTS by increasing the risk of:
H – Heart failure
E – Elevated blood pressure
A – Atrial fibrillation
R – Resistant hypertension
T – Type 2 diabetes
S – Stroke
Additionally, a scientific statement on sleep duration and quality from the American Heart Association states that moderate and severe sleep apnea are associated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease.
Find out more about the warning signs and risk factors for sleep apnea. If you or a loved one has any of the symptoms of sleep apnea, you should speak with your medical provider or reach out to an AASM-accredited sleep center.