Dr. Wolfe shares the risks associated with untreated sleep apnea and explains how sleep disorders contribute to heart problems.
Untreated sleep apnea is most strongly associated with high blood pressure and heart disease, but in addition, we know that there are other factors related, such as abnormalities in metabolism. If you are a diabetic, difficulty controlling your sugar, increasing risk for cognitive issues such as memory dysfunction and even risk for stroke.
When women have sleep disorder breathing specifically, oxygen levels dip throughout the night. That loss of oxygen puts the heart under stress. In addition, every single time you have a stop breathing episode, a healthy brain makes the right decision to have a short wake up, two or three seconds at a time. It’s enough to both disrupt sleep but also, every time that wake-up occurs, a shot of adrenalin is put through the body that clamps down on the blood vessels and puts bad stress both on the blood vessels and the heart.
About Dr. Lisa Wolfe, M.D.:
Dr. Lisa Wolfe, M.D., earned her medical degree from Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health. She completed her residency and her fellowship at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Wolfe is board certified in pulmonary disease, critical care medicine and sleep medicine.
Visit Dr. Wolfe at the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation