Recent Blog Articles
Poison ivy: Scratchin’ like a hound?
Apps to accelerometers: Can technology improve mental health in older adults?
Opioid addiction and overdoses are increasingly harming Black communities
New Harvard tool helps fact-check cancer claims
Hand pain from arthritis? This may help
Polio: What parents need to know now
Ketamine for treatment-resistant depression: When and where is it safe?
Have lupus? What to know about birth control
Screening at home for memory loss: Should you try it?
Travel tummy troubles: Here’s how to prevent or soothe them
How sleep apnea affects the heart
Poor-quality sleep and heart disease are connected.
We've all heard stories about super snorers, whose snorts and snores rattle windows and awaken the neighbors. Many of these people suffer from sleep apnea. In this condition, the airway becomes blocked, or the muscles that control breathing stop moving. Either way, breathing stops... and then resumes with a gasp. In the worst cases, this can happen hundreds of times every night.
Because sleep apnea sufferers are constantly awakened, they have poor-quality sleep and feel exhausted all day. They may also suffer from poor cardiovascular health. The sleep disorder is found in 47% to 83% of people with cardiovascular disease, 35% of people with high blood pressure, and 12% to 53% of people with heart failure, atrial fibrillation (a heart rhythm abnormality), and stroke. Researchers estimate that untreated sleep apnea may raise the risk of dying from heart disease by up to five times.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- 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
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!