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Sleep Apnea Raises the Risk of Heart Disease: How to Improve Your Outcome

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where the afflicted has one or more pauses in breathing while asleep. The pauses may last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes and can occur as many as 30 times or more an hour. Evidence shows that there is a strong correlation between sleep apnea and heart problems such as high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, heart attack and atrial fibrillation.

What's uncertain at this time is whether the cardiovascular problems are a direct result of sleep apnea or if it's because obesity is a shared common risk factor. What is certain, however, is that having sleep apnea significantly raises the risk of developing hypertension, and that severe obstructive sleep apnea may cause or worsen many expensive and life-limiting medical problems.

In addition to the correlation with heart disease, sleep apnea is also associated with a higher incidence of other medical conditions including diabetes, obesity, asthma, seizures, headaches and even eye disorders. Getting it under control is important.

According to Wei-Shin Lai, MD and CEO/founder of AcousticSheep LLC, "...not treating sleep apnea will reduce your life expectancy, increase your life insurance rates, bother your bed partner, cause many other medical problems... and keep you feeling miserably tired."

Seeing a doctor is the first step. He or she will be able to diagnose you and determine what method of treatment is best for you. In the meantime, there's always more you can do to get better rest. Here are a few suggestions to improve your outcome:

  • Use SleepPhones headphones to help you relax at bedtime and be sure to download their free music soundtrack which uses binaural beats to help induce sleep safely and naturally.
  • Develop a pre-bedtime routine — go to bed the same time every night, try taking a warm bath before bed, or sip on your favorite herbal (non-caffeinated) tea. Establishing a routine will prepare your body for a good night's slumber.
  • Try some relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00521/three-breathing-exercises.html
  • Limit alcohol consumption to one to two servings in the evening.
  • Avoid caffeine after lunch.

Following these tips aren't likely to cure your sleep apnea, but they'll at least put you in a position for a better night's rest and help you improve your outcome!

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