It is estimated that 22 million people in America suffer from moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and approximately 80% of these cases are undiagnosed. OSA causes people to experience symptoms like daytime sleepiness, headaches, mood changes, and high blood pressure.
Sleep has an effect on many parts of the body, including the cardiovascular system. Early detection and treatment of OSA, often through home sleep testing, is a key factor in reducing the risk of health complications. It is important to understand the role of sleep in a healthy lifestyle.
Understanding Heart Failure
Heart failure is a chronic condition in which the heart doesn’t pump blood as well as it should to meet the body’s requirements. In some cases, the heart cannot fill with enough blood and in others, the heart is unable to distribute blood to the rest of the body. Patients who are experiencing chest pains, dry cough, fatigue, or loss of appetite may be suffering from heart failure. Given the heart’s importance to human body functioning, heart failure poses a dire threat.
Collectively, heart failure is known to affect 6.5 million Americans and 23 million worldwide. It is also a contributing cause in 1 of 8 deaths. The death rate has become a significant economic burden that is expected to reach $70 billion with approximately 550 thousand new cases annually.
Patients who have risk factors like obesity, smoking, bad sleep habits, and poor diet are more susceptible to heart failure. Sticking to a well-designed routine helps patients minimize their chances of heart failure. However. it is important for physicians to be diligent in detecting and diagnosing heart failure to reduce the mortality rate, increase the quality of life and decrease the economic strain.
Sleep’s Effect on the Cardiovascular System
Sleep is one of the many key factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease. Patients with OSA often have compromised heart health. Certain chemicals are triggered that keep the body from achieving extended periods in which heart rate and blood pressure are lowered. Since OSA patients lack long, deep periods of rest, this leads to complications over time if left untreated.
Not only is this a concern for adults, but studies also show that too little sleep early in life has adverse effects in the future. Lacking sleep as a child may lead to cardiovascular problems, high BMI, and increased risk of hypertension.
Physicians typically recommend treating OSA with a CPAP machine or an oral appliance. Other advised lifestyle changes include limiting alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, losing weight, and exercising regularly.
Using Home Sleep Testing to Diagnose OSA
Home sleep testing (HST) aids in the diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Patients who self-administer the test can potentially lower their risk of heart failure. If sleep apnea is diagnosed, therapy through CPAP is a viable solution. The treatment prevents blood oxygen levels from falling during sleep and lowers the heart’s stress levels.
If OSA goes undetected, patients could be at greater risk of developing a heart condition. Additionally, the therapy helps control irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure, which are commonly found in patients with atrial fibrillation and hypertension. These conditions can be fatal if not properly treated.
Test for Obstructive Sleep Apnea with DreamClear™
Sleep has a direct effect on cardiovascular health, and an early diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea will encourage patients to start living a healthier life. Simple changes like eating healthy, exercising frequently, and quitting smoking can have a positive impact. Home sleep testing is both an affordable and convenient way to diagnose OSA with immediate results available.
To learn more about how DreamClear™ is making strides in home testing for OSA, please contact a member of our team today.