Heart Rhythm and Sleep Apnea

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Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm that affects 2.7 million Americans. Of those, as many as 49 percent also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Connections between snoring a lot and having a heart flutter may seem tenuous. Of course, sleep apnea is more than snoring a lot, and atrial fibrillation is more than a heart flutter.

Heart disease is the no.1 killer of Americans, and its risk factors—high body mass, history of hypertension, smoking—are also risk factors for OSA. Simply put, sleep apnea is a sleep abnormality that causes the sleeper to wake up multiple times due to interrupted breathing. The stress forced on the immune system by this pattern can lead to other disorders, like rheumatoid arthritis, itself closely tied to poor cardiologic health.

When you wake up unable to breathe, or with feelings of anxiety spurred by involuntary reflexes, the heart can speed up to compensate. Co-sufferers from OSA and atrial fib often have their restive heart rate double or even triple. Both OSA and atrial fib are notorious causes of stroke.

Since most physicians do not typically screen for sleep apnea, you should stay alert to its symptoms. If you feel fatigued even after a full night of rest, or if you sleep restlessly or wake multiple times to urinate, you may have OSA.

Contact our Los Angeles sleep apnea specialists for more.


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