How are Sleep issues related to Heart failure?
The relationship between sleep disorders and heart failure is a two-way street. Having heart failure means you’re likely to have other health issues, including sleep problems. Likewise, sleep problems, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and insomnia, can make your heart failure symptoms worse.
Rest helps your heart as well as your energy levels, thinking skills, and overall health. If you TREAT sleep problems, you WILL ease the burden on your heart.
Complications of heart failure can affect your sleep. For example:
Chest pain and discomfort make it hard to relax and fall or stay asleep.
Lying in bed can make you feel short of breath. During the day, you’re standing and sitting, so extra fluid normally settles in your legs and feet. But lie down, and it’s going to move up into your chest and throat. This action can close in your lungs and airway, making it harder to breathe. There are solutions to these problems, and you are certainly not alone.
Sleep Disorders can lead to Heart Failure
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can affect anyone and is a dangerous sleep disorder. This sleep disorder causes the tissue in the back of your throat to relax and block your airways while you sleep. You stop breathing, so your brain signals your throat muscles to contract, which opens up your airway again. These episodes can happen dozens or even hundreds of times a night.
Your brain then releases stress hormones during these episodes. The release of these hormones can raise your heart rate and also raises your blood pressure, which in turn increases your chances of developing heart failure or making it worse.
Researchers have also found a significant link between trouble falling or staying asleep and the likelihood of heart failure. One reason may be that insomnia triggers the body’s stress response, which could weaken your heart over time.
If you have any type of sleep issues and suspect it is affecting your health, don’t wait, let your Cardiologist know.
Dr. Mir Varquez is our Cardiologist and sleep specialist. She can help you figure out what’s going on medically, whether you’re dealing with insomnia or OSA or something else, and how to treat it. One option might be continuous positive airway pressure. CPAP is a small machine that pumps air through a tube and a mask that you wear over your mouth and nose to help keep your airway open at night.
There may not always be an easy solution, but sleep is too important to your heart and your health, in general.
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- The Link Between Heart Failure & Sleeping Problems. https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-failure/heart-failure-sleep-problems