Studies Show Links Between Sleep Apnea, Heart Disease

Health Topics

If your partner has complained about your extremely loud snoring, it’s possible you are facing a more serious problem than annoying the person in bed next to you.

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that causes one or more pauses in your breathing or shallow breathing while you sleep. 

It is usually a chronic condition, meaning that it is ongoing.

The pauses in your breathing can last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes, and they can happen more than 30 times in an hour. When you start breathing normally again, it usually starts with a loud snort or choking sound.

When your breathing pauses, it usually makes you move from a deep sleep to a light sleep.

Because your sleep is interrupted, sleep apnea can make you tired during the day. It is the leading cause of daytime sleepiness.

Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed because people don’t usually know they have it until a sleeping partner or other family member tells them they are snoring loudly or that they stop breathing while they sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common kind of sleep apnea and typically occurs in people who are overweight.

The disorder is more common in men than women, especially African American and Hispanic men, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA).

Aside from causing sleep loss, sleep apnea has been linked to heart disease.

Though studies have not yet shown that one causes the other, research shows that people with a high prevalence of sleep apnea also have a high prevalence of high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

One issue directly connect sleep apnea and heart disease is that people who have these health problems also typically have other related diseases and conditions, including obesity and high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association.