SIMEDHealth

The Relationship Between Heart Disease and Sleep

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year. Since February is National Heart Disease Awareness month, we sat down with Dr. Anthony Ackerman of SIMEDHealth’s Sleep Center to discuss the relationship between sleep, untreated sleep apnea, and heart disease.

HOW ARE SLEEP AND HEART DISEASE CONNECTED?

If you suffer from untreated sleep apnea, heart disease could be in your future. Sleep apnea is a common yet severe disorder that causes patients to briefly and repeatedly stop breathing while they are asleep. Dr. Ackerman explained that untreated sleep apnea can lead to abnormal heart rhythms, clogged arteries, and high blood pressure which all down the road can cause heart disease.

WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR HEART WHILE YOU SLEEP?

He explained further that during sleep, when you stop breathing, the oxygen levels in your body go down. This causes a signal to be sent to your blood vessels to constrict causing an increase in blood pressure.  In a lot of instances this increase in blood pressure during apnea events, result in consistently high blood pressure. Dr. Ackerman said “What’s good for the heart is often good for the brain” so sleep apnea can also increase your risk of stroke and dementia.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP APNEA?

Common symptoms include:

  • Snoring
  • Day time sleepiness
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Waking up gasping or choking during the night
  • Waking up feeling unrefreshed
  • Difficulty controlling blood pressure
  • Gastric reflux
  • Morning headaches
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • Waking up with dry mouth

IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE SLEEP APNEA…

Dr. Ackerman encourages you to talk to your primary care physician about it. It is also important to get your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol checked and make sure they are under control. Talk to your doctor about visiting our sleep clinic to discuss treatment plans such as sleep tests and positional therapy.   

It's No Joke! April 1, 2015 is National Walking Day.

SIMED Health celebrates National Walking Day with the American Heart Association.

On Wednesday April 1, we’ll be celebrating National Walking Day with the American Heart Association.

Physical inactivity is a huge national problem. Eighty percent of adults in America don’t get enough physical activity. That’s true for many of us right here at SIMED. And it means we’re at greater risk for heart disease, stroke and other chronic diseases. But we’re not going to take it sitting down.
 

On April 1, we’ll join millions of men and women across America as they pledge to live a healthier lifestyle and get physically active. Here’s what you can do to join in the celebration:

  • Show your support and wear sneakers to work on April 1.
  • Since you’ll be wearing your sneakers, we challenge you to take a 30-minute walk on April 1 — and keep it up.
  • Visit Heart.org/Walking and use the American Heart Association’s free tips and tools to stay motivated on your walking program and to sign up to participate and raise funds for your community’s Heart Walk.

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for a 30 minute walk on April 1st! We'll see you outside.