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Cardiovascular and Metabolic Stresses Link to Sleep Apnea and How to Treat It

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Sleep studies have done much to improve the quality of life among the people of the world. However, not every individual is aware of the silent dangers of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a health condition that often goes undetected or disregarded in the main stream world. This is because sleep apnea occurs while the individual with the condition is sleeping, making it more challenging to discover. Furthermore, if left “untreated sleep apnea can contribute to a range of conditions associated with heart disease and diabetes”. Diabetes has several life-threatening conditions associated with it. These conditions can include vision loss and heart disease after prolonged periods of time. Cardiovascular stress has to do with the human respiration system and how much it can handle at a given time. For individuals with sleep apnea, cardiovascular stress can be a serious issue. The reason for this would be the fact that sleep apnea restricts the breathing process of the lungs. When the lungs do not have oxygen to pump, this generates stress on the entire cardiovascular system. Sleep apnea also restricts blood flow, which effects circulation. When the blood refuses to flow, the body is now at risk for blockages and waste build up. Blood filtration is also a vital step towards eliminating the toxins in the body. A study “found increases in blood sugar, fat levels, stress hormones, and blood pressure in patients with obstructive sleep apnea—a condition that affects 20 to 30 percent of adults”. Sleep apnea does much damage to an individual’s body, however not much awareness is brought to this condition.

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How does sleep apnea add to cardiovascular, metabolic stress?

The respiratory system functions because of the “activation of the sympathetic nervous system during respiratory events potentiates vasoconstriction and often triggers increases in blood pressure and heart rate”. Many individuals are not aware of how the respiratory system works. By understanding the process of this disregarded bodily function, it can be seen how sleep apnea affects cardiovascular metabolic stress. Research indicates that “sleep apnea increases risks for cardiovascular disease independently of individuals’ demographic characteristics (i.e., age, sex, and race) or risk markers (i.e., smoking, alcohol, obesity, diabetes, dyslipidemia, atrial fibrillation, and hypertension). Individuals with severe sleep apnea are at increased risk for coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and stroke”. Blood flow is a fundamental property for a healthy lifestyle. The blood is the body’s natural filter for harmful elements such as diseases and hazardous waste material. The human body is very durable and capable of doing a large amount of physical activity. However, the human body is also very fragile, in the sense of it can only endure so much damage. Sleep apnea increases the risk of contracting a deteriorating health condition. Studies have displayed that “obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of heart failure by 140%, the risk of stroke by 60%, and the risk of coronary heart disease by 30%. Thus, sleep apnea is an important target for public health interventions aiming at reducing cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death among adults in developed countries”. Heart failure and heart disease are health conditions that claim the lives of several thousands of individuals. In fact, heart disease has one of the highest death rates for a serious health condition. Furthermore, heart disease is the biggest killer in America, making sleep apnea a much stronger candidate for causing this health condition. More evidence is surfacing each day about how sleep apnea adds to the negative effects of metabolic cardiovascular stress. Because of the new research conducted, “the link between sleep apnea and these diseases is well known, the new findings add to evidence that sleep apnea can directly aggravate the health problems”. Aggravated health problems need to be avoided if an individual wishes to lead a long and fulfilling lifestyle. To avoid health issues, the leading causes of a health condition must be focused on. For example, cardiovascular metabolic stress is generally influenced by a fair amount of blood restriction. This brings up the question of “how is blood restriction caused”, which creates several possibilities. Several medical professionals agree that “sleep apnea is just a manifestation of obesity, or in fact an active contributor to associated health problems like diabetes and heart disease”. Once again, it can be noticed that blood filtration is the leading catalyst behind a person’s health. In fact, most diseases are related to how the blood reacts with the body. When oxygen is removed from the blood, the body cannot effectively fight against more serious conditions. After examining the data from the conducted test, “researchers found that withdrawing CPAP in the sleeping patients increased levels of free fatty acids, glucose, and cortisol (a stress hormone)—all conditions linked to diabetes”. Essentially, a CPAP machine is used to help increase the oxygen flow for an individual with sleep apnea. The data from the studies above indicate that oxygen does in fact have a major impact on the breathing habits of an individual. The next question that a sleep apnea patient should be asking would be, “how can I treat my condition?”

How can sleep apnea and cardiovascular, metabolic stress be treated?

Sleep apnea is dangerous, but it can be eradicated if caught early enough by a loved one or medical physician. There are several highly effective treatments for sleep apnea, and some are better than others. One of the most popular treatments for sleep apnea would be the use of a CPAP machine. Much research has been conducted surrounding the functionality of this device. The data from the reports “emphasize the importance of CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, as a treatment solution”. Well oxygenated blood is important to preventing health risks and blood related diseases. The CPAP machine does an exceptional job at increasing the oxygen intake of a sleep apnea patient. Sleep apnea occurs while the victim is asleep, making it difficult for these individuals to realize that they have stopped breathing. With the CPAP machine, breathing restriction is no longer a problem. The reports seemed to indicate that the “consistent use of CPAP therapy as an important way to prevent the metabolic and cardiovascular consequences of sleep apnea”. Sleep apnea and snoring are so commonly associated with each other that both terms are synonymous to the public. Not everyone is convinced that they may have the potential to develop sleep apnea. However, when it comes to the “patients with a hard time tolerating, researchers recommend working with sleep specialists who can assist with the machine or recommend alternative therapies”. Sleep apnea treatments require a lot of discipline and diligence if they are going to be completes. Still, living a healthy lifestyle also requires discipline.

Sleep is a more complicated process than people realize, because of the assumed ease of the activity. However, the body is constantly working towards improving and healing itself, and it needs assistance. Without decent care, the body is unable to properly function and conditions such as cardiovascular metabolic stress can occur. Based on the evidence, “cardiovascular disease is often grouped with metabolic disorders because it is frequently a consequence of diabetes and dyslipidemia”. Each of these health conditions can be avoided if the proper steps are taken before it is too late to reverse the damage. Because sleep apnea is disregarded and overlooked, the public has not done much to prevent the issue. In fact, “critics pointed out that obstructive sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease have common risk factors including, age, gender, race/ethnicity, and obesity, which could confound the observed associations”. Sleep apnea is extremely prevalent, yet it remains in the shadows of more popular health conditions. If sleep apnea has the potential to cause health conditions, diseases and even death, it should be avoided as best as possible.

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