Over 18 million Americans struggle with sleep apnea, with 10 million others undiagnosed. There are varying reasons why people develop sleep apnea. However, one recent study found a correlation between sleep disorders and higher risk of heart problems.

Sleep Disorders and Increased Risk for Heart Problems

A new study in the Journal of the American Heart Association reported that there is a higher risk of stroke, death, heart failure, and heart disease for people who suffer from sleep disorders after having an angioplasty.

Toru Mazaki, the study author and chief physician of the Department of Cardiology at Kobe Central Hospital in Kobe, Japan reported that there isn’t much “awareness of sleep-disordered breathing among cardiologists who care for PCI patients.”

PCI refers to percutaneous coronary intervention or angioplasty. When acute coronary syndrome occurs, a patient might need a PCI. This occurs where the blood supply can’t make it to the heart. An angioplasty helps to reopen the arteries by placing a catheter inside of it, allowing blood to flow through.

The Study

For the study, the research group studied 241 patients with acute coronary syndrome for nearly 5 and a half years. They tracked their breathing, strokes, deaths, heart failure, and possible repeated signs of acute coronary syndromes.

Throughout the study, the researchers discovered a strong correlation between sleep disorders and risk of heart problems. They found that 52% of the patients had sleep-disordered breathing, with 21.4% of those patients experiencing serious cardiovascular problems.

Additionally, a mere 7.8% of the patients without sleep-disordered breathing had serious cardiovascular problems.

The numbers provide a clear indication that sleep disorders and increased risk for heart problems are serious issues. Those who have acute coronary syndrome are at a far greater risk of developing sleeping disorders than those who don’t.

In regards to the study’s findings, Mazaki commented they “suggest that sleep-disordered breathing is an important risk factor for stroke, heart failure and more after PCI for acute coronary syndrome. Doctors and patients should consider sleep studies post-PCI to rule out sleep-disordered breathing or take necessary precautions to restore healthy breathing during sleep.”

More sleep studies and clinical trials need to test those who are post-angioplasty to learn if this is a regular pattern. Still, Mazaki recommends that monitoring breathing during sleep for such patients should be routine throughout hospitals.

Not only are heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks serious health issues, but sleep disorders like apnea can be deadly. Sleep apnea can also create further health problems.

In conclusion, take care of your heart by eating healthy foods, exercising, reducing sugar and salt, and monitoring blood pressure.