People who suffer from sleep apnea have a higher risk than others for developing heart disease. “Researchers cannot say for sure whether sleep apnea causes heart disease, but we do know you are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure when you have sleep apnea,” says Duc T. Nguyen, DO, interventional cardiologist, Saint Francis Medical Partner.
Sleep apnea disrupts your breathing while you are sleeping, leading to low oxygen levels (hypoxia). In response, your brain sends signals through your body that tell blood vessels to “tighten up” to increase the flow of oxygen to the brain.
“Even during the daytime when you are breathing normally, your body continues to be affected by the lack of oxygen the brain received during the night,” says Nguyen. “If you have sleep apnea, you will benefit from a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) system to help regulate your apnea, lower your blood pressure, improve your quality of life and decrease your cardiovascular risk ”