The Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Heart Failure
The connection between sleep apnea and heart failure is becoming clearer as more studies come to the same conclusion. In this blog, we talk about sleep apnea and its connection to heart failure. This blog looks at it from the standpoint of the mechanics of both conditions. It also talks about how they work within the body.
In that blog post, it explains that sleep apnea causes a dramatic drop in oxygen levels. This drop increases the level of carbon dioxide in the body. The body reacts by releasing adrenaline as part of our ancient fight-or-flight response conditioning, which raises our blood pressure levels.
These blood pressure swings eventually start to damage blood vessel linings. It can lead to increases in the heart’s mass, thickening its walls and reducing pumping action. The inevitable result of all of this stress to the heart is a significantly increased risk of heart failure. Additionally, it can also lead to a number of other cardiovascular problems.
Today, statistics show that more than 50 percent of heart failure patients also suffer from sleep apnea. Many researchers feel that the fact that patients with either of the two disorders share symptoms of increased oxidative stress and inflammation, as well as sleep difficulties and the same daytime symptoms, are more than clues to their connection.
Still, the facts that show that one leads to the other are still not a definite truth. That’s because both conditions are so complex and different. Many major health organizations take the connection as a given. They try to educate the public on the known links between the two conditions. This resource article from the American Thoracic Society breaks down the connection and how it manifests itself in patients in simple terms.
Leading manufacturers in the sleep technology space are engaging in ongoing research and discussion on the links between sleep apnea and heart failure as well as how to effectively combat the conditions. A recent MarketWatch article reported on Royal Philips’ work at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2014. They sponsored a key Satellite Symposia focused on managing patients with the cardiovascular disease and sleep apnea.
It takes mountains of definitive research evidence across broad patient spectrums before the healthcare continuum will definitively say that having one condition will lead to another condition or outcome. The same goes for the treatment of those conditions. What we do know is that as the links between sleep apnea and heart failure get further research, so too does the efficacy of decreasing the chances via CPAP therapy.