Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease

Article excerpt

Sleep apnea, a common but rarely diagnosed problem, may play a major role in heart disease.

Apnea occurs when people experience brief interruptions in their breathing during sleep. The problem may occur up to sixty times an~hour, and each time it happens the brain gives the heart a jolt to get breathing started again. Besides disrupting sleep, these repeated jolts place a considerable strain on the heart.

For the 2.5 million Americans with congestive heart failure, sleep apnea can be particularly dangerous. Many of them take a large assortment of drugs to help their condition but continue to deteriorate nevertheless. Shortness of breath and exhaustion become increasingly severe.

There does seem to be some hope on the horizon, though, for heart patients with sleep apnea. Use of a special breathing device as they slept by patients with heart failure resulted in dramatic improvements in their condition, far greater than what drugs could bring about. …

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