In a new study from the Heart Research Institute, researchers found the link between amounts of nicotine in the blood and the amount of time people have less oxygen while they’re sleeping.
Sleep apnea occurs when a person’s throat and upper airway become partly or completely blocked during sleep, causing short periods where breathing stops.
The scientists found increases in nicotine levels were associated with a 2.3 minute increase in the time spent with oxygen saturations below 90%.
One of the markers of severity of sleep apnea is time spent with oxygen saturation of less than 90%.
This meant that for every cigarette a person smoked, they were more likely to have “dangerously low” levels of oxygen.
Scientists know sleep apnea and congestive heart failure commonly coexist, but with their interaction unclear, the team used hundreds of small molecules called metabolites to understand this interaction.
In the study, they tested metabolites and lipids in 1,919 people from the Framingham Heart Study and 1,524 participants of the Women’s Health Initiative, both US studies.
Other findings in this study include new insights into the relationship between lipid storage, energy storage, and heart size and structure.
The team says smoking is bad for the heart—it’s one of the major risks for heart attacks—and although smoking is known to reduce oxygen concentration in the blood, the interaction of smoking with sleep apnea has not been quantified.
This study was able for the first time to quantify the effect of smoking on oxygen concentrations at night in people with sleep apnea.
If you care about sleep, please read studies about this sleep treatment could protect heart health in people with prediabetes and findings of 68% of Americans lose sleep to drinking alcohol.
For more information about sleep health, please see recent studies about abnormal blood pressure in sleep could increase risks of heart disease, stroke and results showing that people with high ADHD-traits are more vulnerable to this sleep problem.
The study is published in ESC Heart Failure. One author of the study is Dr. John O’Sullivan.
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