Heart beat: The danger of sleep apnea

Heart beat

The danger of sleep apnea

Everyone agrees that the breath-stopping type of snoring known as sleep apnea isn't a good thing — it disrupts your nighttime rest, makes you sleepy during the daytime, boosts blood pressure, and increases the chances of developing heart trouble. Just how bad is it?

Pretty bad, according to an extended study of almost 1,500 Spanish snorers. Researchers followed the men, who had been referred to a hospital sleep clinic, with yearly checkups. All were offered the most successful treatment, called continuous positive airway pressure. It involves breathing through a face mask that delivers a stream of air into the nose. Many of the study volunteers decided not to use the device.

After 10 years, the researchers tallied up how many of the men had suffered a heart attack or stroke, needed a procedure to bypass or open a clogged heart artery, or died from cardiovascular disease. About 1 in 7 men (14%) fell into this camp.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »