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How does obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affect the heart?

If you snore and have OSA, chances are your heart is being greatly stressed. Studies show that habitual snorers have a greater chance of stroke than non-snorers and an increased chance of death from this. It is not unusual for those with sleep apnea to be mistakenly treated for primary heart disease because cardiac arrhythmias may be more prominent than the breathing disturbances.

When breathing stops during the apneas, your heart rate and level of oxygen also drop, you pump less blood out and your blood pressure increases. When breathing resumes, your heart rate and blood pressure rise, sometimes to very dangerous levels. These problems are lessened when treatment begins to correct the snoring and OSA.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.