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Has your partner ever said you snore? Have they ever mentioned that you sometimes stop breathing when you sleep?  If so, you may have sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder that can have significant consequences for the heart and arteries.

 

What is sleep apnea?

When people have sleep apnea there breathing can repeatedly stop and start throughout the night.   Most commonly it is caused by the muscles at the back of the throat relaxing and the soft tissues obstructing your airway when you breathe in.   This can happen multiple times every night. The brain may then briefly waken you, but you probably won’t remember this, but it often leaves people very fatigued and irritable during the day.  Other common symptoms that point towards sleep apnea are loud snoring; epsiodes where you stop breathing; dry mouth; daytime headache; insomnia; and loss of attention when awake.

 

How common is it?

It is incredibly common with 1/3 of people in Singapore having sleep apnea. It is also very common if you have an underlying heart condition like  heart failure or high blood pressure.

 

What are the risk factors for sleep apnea?

Being a man, being overweight, thick neck, being older, family history, alcohol use, smokers, nose congestion.

 

How can sleep apnea affect the heart?

Recurrent drops in blood oxygen levels cause repeated stress on the heart and vascular system. The body releases increasing amounts of the stress hormone adrenaline into the blood stream. This increases your risk of having high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation.  It also can increase your risk of diabetes.

 

How do you test for it?

Your cardiologist can arrange for a simple sleep study that can be performed at your own home to assess for sleep apnea. If diagnosed the treatment is usually a special device called that helps keep the airways open when you sleep, in addition to lifestyle modification like weight loss.

 

When should you see a doctor?

If you have any of the above symptoms attend your doctor for assessment. Not all sleep apnea sufferers snore, sometimes the main features can be fatigue and irritability during the day.

 

Discuss Heart Attack Signs with Your Cardiologist In Singapore

You would be lucky if you survive a mild stroke or heart attack without even knowing it. In Singapore, 1 out of 3 recorded deaths was due to heart disease or stroke in 2014. Of the 19,393 people who died of cardiovascular disease in 2014, 46% were women.

A visit to your cardiologist in Singapore will help you plan and carry out practical lifestyle changes which you can follow to lower your risk of having a heart attack. Remember, your family depends on you, so live strong with a healthy heart!

Comments

Rated
7.5
Richard
ELITE
1021 comments
11 March 2020
Great article and a must read. When people have sleep apnea there breathing can repeatedly stop and start throughout the night. Most commonly it is caused by the muscles at the back of the throat relaxing and the soft tissues obstructing your airway when you breathe in. This can happen multiple times every night.
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Rated
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John
ELITE
264 comments
9 March 2020
We caught up with Michael Macdonald of The Harley Street Heart & Vascular Centre to discuss how stress affects the heart and his response was, "When your body perceives a threat, it increases the production of stress hormones like adrenaline that alter the way multiple systems in your body function i.e. digestion and immune systems. When the threat diminishes the hormone, levels return to normal." Read Full Article: https://www.expatchoice.asia/health/5-simple-ways-combat-effects-stress-heart
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