"If you suffer from undiagnosed or untreated sleep apnea , the condition could take a toll on your heart health. With sleep apnea, the person experiences a pause in his or her breathing that can last from a few seconds to minutes during sleep, often occurring five to 30 times per hour.When the person starts breathing again, a gasp, a loud snort, or a choking sound often accompanies it. Besides potentially leading to poor-quality slumber, fatigue, and drowsy driving the next day, sleep apnea can cause serious damage to your heart.
It has been linked with heart arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats), atrial fibrillation (a common type of irregular heartbeat), heart failure, heart attacks, and strokes, most likely because sleep apnea is associated with high blood pressure. When you stop breathing while you sleep, your heart rate drops, and then your involuntary reflexes make you startle into a micro-arousal, which causes your heart rate to accelerate quickly and makes your blood pressure to rise. In addition, sleep apnea can lead to repeated episodes of lower oxygen levels in the blood , increases in carbon dioxide levels, pressure changes in the chest, and increased inflammation markers in the body, all of which can wreak havoc on heart function."
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