The study also found that the frequency and severity of longer respiratory events (apneas and hypopneas) increase especially towards the morning and this increases the probability of sudden cardiogenic death between midnight and 6 a.m., especially due to desaturation and arrhythmias. .
Representative image. Jair Lázaro / Unsplash
There are many types of sleep disorders that affect people; Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one that could have a long-term effect on your health. According to the US National Sleep Foundation, OSA occurs when the airways in the back of the throat become blocked, causing temporary lapses in breathing.
OSA is typically a long-term illness, and people with it often wake up the next day without feeling sufficiently rested.
While this may seem like a small problem, OSA usually snowballs into more serious health problems. In fact, a recent study in Sleep Medicine Reviews it even suggests that people with severe OSA may also suffer from severe COVID-19 disease and its complications.
Risks of sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease
Johns Hopkins Medicine reveals that people with OSA also tend to suffer from hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and obesity, all of which contribute to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that the link between OSA and cardiovascular disease is not as well understood, but the increased risk of metabolic syndrome and disorders such as obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes may be the main contributing factors.
This study also indicates that other intermediate mechanisms such as oxidative stress, endothelial damage, platelet activation, and increased inflammatory mediators may also explain the connection between OSA and cardiovascular disease.
The findings of a new study published in the journal Scientific reports sheds much more light on these intermediate mechanisms that link OSA to cardiovascular disease.
This study shows that nocturnal respiratory events in people with OSA cause a cardiovascular burden, and the long-term experience of uncontrolled OSA can exacerbate this burden to the point of causing cardiovascular disease.
Heart rate variability in patients with OSA
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Eastern Finland, is based on the premise that the low long-term heart rate (HRV) variability observed in OSA patients is known to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. . However, it is not known how the type and duration of nocturnal respiratory events in OSA can lead to these changes in HRV and heart beat intervals (RR intervals).
To understand this mechanism, the researchers recorded the electrocardiographic signals of 758 patients with suspected OSA. The researchers looked at the participants’ mean RR intervals and HRV parameters for different durations of respiratory events while they slept.
Different durations were set at 10-20 seconds, 20-30 seconds, and more than 30 seconds for apneas (cessation of breathing) and hypopneas (decreased amount of air movements in the lungs leading to a drop in levels. blood oxygen). The researchers found that the longer the duration of these respiratory events, the lower the long-term HRV. They also found that changes in the RR interval were more pronounced during longer respiratory events, especially after apneas.
The researchers also found that apneas cause more oxygen desaturation than hypopneas, and severe desaturation of oxygen levels in the blood (also known as hypoxemia) is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. These respiratory events, therefore, not only affect the HRV and RR intervals, but also increase cardiovascular stress on the body.
The frequency and severity of the most prolonged respiratory events increases especially towards the morning and this increases the probability of sudden cardiogenic death between midnight and 6 am, especially due to desaturation and arrhythmias. This association was found to be stronger in male participants.
Thus, the scientists concluded that a longer duration of respiratory events, more apneas during these events and the male sex increased the risk of cardiovascular stress and diseases in patients with OSA.
The researchers noted that while more studies are needed on the severity of respiratory events, duration, desaturation, and HRV, their findings may also help healthcare professionals assess the risks of cardiovascular disease and death of children. OSA patients in a more detailed way.
To learn more, read our article on sleep apnea.
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