Recent findings by the Cleveland Clinic have shed light on how interrupted sleep can affect the heart, particularly its rhythm.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, reveals that people who have trouble breathing while they sleep are more likely to develop a heart condition called atrial fibrillation.
What is Atrial Fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation, often called AFib, is a type of heart problem where your heartbeat is irregular and sometimes beats too quickly.
This can cause issues like feeling tired or weak, and it can even lead to more serious problems, such as strokes. In the United States alone, millions of people have this heart condition.
Sleep Apnea and Oxygen Levels
The researchers looked at the health records of over 42,000 patients and noticed that people whose oxygen levels drop when they’re asleep tend to have a higher chance of getting AFib.
This was true even for people whose lungs were otherwise healthy. When we sleep, our bodies should rest and recover, but if breathing is disrupted, like with sleep apnea, the heart can be affected too.
They discovered that for every drop in the amount of oxygen in a person’s blood, their risk of AFib went up significantly.
This was an important find, especially since the people they studied were generally young, around 51 years old on average.
Sleep Studies and Future Health
The study suggests that keeping an eye on how well people sleep, and treating sleep problems like apnea, could help prevent AFib. This is particularly important for those who are already more likely to get heart problems.
The Cleveland Clinic team plans to do more research to understand exactly how sleep issues cause AFib.
They want to see if treatments for sleep apnea, which include wearing special masks at night to help breathing, could also lower the risk of developing heart rhythm problems.
Their ongoing research could lead to new ways of treating sleep problems to not only improve sleep quality but also protect heart health.
This work is a step towards better health strategies that consider the full 24-hour cycle of activity and rest in maintaining a healthy heart.
In conclusion, this study adds to the growing body of evidence that good sleep is crucial for heart health.
It opens up new possibilities for preventing and treating heart rhythm disorders by focusing on improving the quality of sleep.
If you care about sleep, please read studies about herb that could help you sleep well at night, and these drugs could lower severity of sleep apnea by one third.
For more information about sleep, please see recent studies that coffee boosts your physical activity, cuts sleep, affects heartbeat, and results showing how to deal with “COVID-somnia” and sleep well at night.
The research findings can be found in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
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