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Published on February 08, 2018

woman covering ear in bed as husband snores behind her

Snoring may be bad for your heart

Someone's snoring may be keeping you up at night, but it could also be a sign that they suffer from sleep apnea. Many people who snore have obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing and sleep are repeatedly interrupted for brief moments throughout the night. Studies have associated sleep apnea with high blood pressure or hypertension, which in turn is associated with heart disease and stroke.

What's the link? Frequent interruptions in breathing during the night cause a drop in oxygen levels in the blood which can lead to high blood pressure. This can strain the heart and damage arteries, increasing the risk for heart attacks and strokes.

The good news is that obstructive sleep apnea can be treated with:

  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine which uses mild air pressure, delivered through a mask, to keep the airways open during sleep.
  • Lifestyle changes such as lose weight, quit smoking and sleep on your side.
  • An oral appliance that repositions the jaw.
  • Surgery to remove tonsils and adenoids (in children).
  • Inspire therapy which monitors your breathing and, when needed, delivers mild stimulation to the hypoglossal nerve which controls the movement of the tongue and other key airway muscles so your airway remains open during sleep.

If you think you have sleep apnea or other sleep-related problem, talk with your primary care provider about a sleep study or schedule an evaluation by calling Gundersen's Sleep Center at (608) 775-7378 (REST).

Copyright 2017 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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