Sleep Apnea Treatment Can Prevent Heart Problems

According to experts, treating sleep apnea can reduce the risk of contracting early symptoms of heart problems.

According to the researchers from U.K., treating a sleep disorder called Apnea can prevent early signs of heart failure. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of sleep apnea can prevent serious heart problems.

Sleep apnea, in general, can cause changes in the heart's shape and function, a sign very similar to hypertension. These includes increased cardiac muscle mass, cardiac muscle hypertrophy and a noticeable decrease of its pumping capability.

Studies show that sleep apnea patients, having been continuously treated with Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), gained positive results. The abnormalities returned to an almost near-normal measurements.

"Our findings imply that Obstructive Sleep Apnea could be crucial in the development of the left ventricular diastolic dysfunction that can lead to heart failure and increased mortality if left untreated." said Gregory Y.H. Lip, M.D., a researcher at the University of Birmingham Center for Cardiovascular Sciences in Birmingham, UK.

The researchers examined 40 patients with sleep apnea and compared them to 40 patients with a known history of hypertension and 40 healthy people. Patients with the sleep disorder had abnormal cardiac structure and function typically associated with high blood pressure.

"Sleep Apnea patients may have cardiac abnormalities that are often undetected, but will improve with CPAP." Lip said. "Patients also need to understand that...their risk of getting heart problems can be easily treated with CPAP."

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