According to US researchers, sleep apnea between the ages of 20 and 50 increases the risk of cardiac problems that can contribute to the fatal condition, as well as heart attacks. Separate research revealed that obstructive sleep apnea, which causes harsh wheezing and waking up gasping for air, also increases the risk of an irregular heartbeat by a factor of five.
Researchers advocate for global surveillance of the “red flag” for cardiac health. Professor Sanjiv Narayan of Stanford University stated, “Sleep apnoea is extremely prevalent, but we tend to disregard it because we view it as a minor inconvenience.
“Until now, no one has truly demonstrated the magnitude of the risk. It is comparable to cardiac disease. “This is what stunned us the most. In addition, these individuals are relatively young; if they suffered a stroke, it would devastate their young families.
“It could keep them from their place of employment. It would ruin their lives for the next four decades.
Sleep apnea is when you cease breathing during sleep because your airways become blocked. OSA is the most prevalent form, affecting approximately 1.5 million Britons.
Constant respiration interruptions reduce oxygen levels and impair sleep quality.
In the morning, it can cause fatigue, difficulty concentrating, mood fluctuations, and headaches while alert.
Leading specialists drew from suburban Americans’ health records based on health examinations from 2008 to 2022.
The risk associated with obstructive sleep apnea dwarfs other known risk factors, according to a study on irregular heartbeats presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Amsterdam.
Those with chronic kidney disease had a 3.7-fold increased risk of developing OSA, whereas those with OSA had a 5-fold increased risk.
OSA was a significantly greater risk factor for the cardiac condition than smoking, which increased the likelihood of atrial fibrillation by one-third.
Study Reveals Link Between Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Atrial Fibrillation
The study found that 7,500 individuals were diagnosed with OSA and 4,500 developed AF in the subsequent years. Even though the studies could now prove definitively that sleep apnea caused heart attacks and strokes, this is their working hypothesis, according to Professor Narayan.
He stated, “Sleep apnea increases the risk by a factor of five, so this is a major concern, as atrial fibrillation can increase the risk of stroke, missed work days, and many other issues. “When you are unable to breathe, the pressure in your lungs rises, causing you to wake up gasping for air.”
“This places a pressure burden on the heart, causing the heart chambers to dilate, which could result in atrial fibrillation. Another possibility is that the oxygen levels in the blood drop for tens of seconds, putting stress on the heart.
Professor Francesco Cappuccio, chair of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Warwick, stated, “OSA is a prevalent chronic condition that is frequently misdiagnosed.
“If left untreated, it can cause daytime fatigue, poor concentration, decreased performance, attentional failure, and a decline in life quality.”
Dr. Charles Pearman, consultant cardiologist at Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, stated, “While snoring is a symptom of sleep apnoea, not all snorers have the condition.
This study suggests that sleep apnoea, a condition in which individuals momentarily cease breathing while sleeping, is a strong predictor of whether younger individuals will develop atrial fibrillation (AF).
Source: The Sun