Nearly 30 million Americans have sleep apnea, a chronic health problem that more than doubles their risk of death due to heart disease, according to Jason Bailey, MD, pulmonologist at Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg. Sleep apnea is a disease in which the upper airway collapses during sleep, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).
The AASM indicates there are several major warning signs and risk factors for sleep apnea, including snoring, choking or gasping, obesity and high blood pressure.
“Anyone who experiences these symptoms of sleep apnea should schedule an appointment with their medical provider,” said Dr. Bailey. “Untreated sleep apnea can increase the likelihood of several serious diseases, including heart disease.”
The acronym HEARTS can help individuals remember the diseases associated with sleep apnea:
- H: Heart failure
- E: Elevated blood pressure
- A: Atrial fibrillation
- R: Resistance hypertension
- T: Type 2 diabetes
- S: Stroke
To speak with an Ascension Via Christi provider about the risks of untreated sleep apnea related to heart disease, contact: