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Sleep Well, Have a Healthy Heart !

A study published in the March 1st issue of the journal SLEEP finds that people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.//

The study attributes the increased link between OSA and cardiovascular disease to heightened recognition and a rising prevalence. Results suggest that OSA plays a potentially important causative role in cardiovascular disease, particularly systemic hypertension.

"There is abundant physiologic evidence implicating OSA in perpetuating, if not inticing, heart failure. In addition to their association with systemic hypertension, OSA-related stressors, including hypoxemia, increased sympathetic drive, acute surges in blood pressure, and mechanical effects of intrathoracic pressure swings, have varying effects on myocardial oxygen supply and demand, particularly in the already compromised heart," said Sean M. Caples, DO, of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., one of the authors of the study.

According to Lawrence Epstein, MD, American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) past president, medical director of Sleep HealthCenters and instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, treating sleep disorders and getting an adequate amount of sleep are pillars of good cardiovascular health.

"Sleep apnea is a known risk factor for the development of hypertension, heart disease and stroke," said Epstein. "Also, chronic sleep deprivation has been shown to change metabolic function in a way that promotes weight gain and diabetes, two risk factors for heart disease."

OSA, a sleep related breathing disorder that causes your body to stop breathing during sleep, occurs when the tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway, which prevents air from getting into the lungs.

In addition to cardiovascular disease, other effects of OSA include daytime sleepiness, alertness and concentration deficiencies, and an increased
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