Losing Sleep: Sleep Apnea and Heart Health
Excerpt of an article written by Kim Olson and originally published by HeartBeat Magazine.
In October 2004, John Vosberg called his girlfriend, Dianne, to cancel their date. “I won’t be able to see you this weekend. I’m in St. Cloud Hospital. I had a heart attack.”
John had arrived at the hospital just in time to save his life. Some arterial plaque had ruptured, blocking an artery, and a stent was inserted to hold the vessel open.
Eight years later, Dianne — now John’s wife — urged him to see a doctor about a different issue: his snoring and daytime sleepiness. “On my drive to work, I struggled to stay awake,” says John, who lives in Pine City, Minnesota, and is an active member of Mended Hearts Chapter 10 out of St. Cloud (the “Granite City Beaters”). While watching evening television, he needed a “pre-bed nap.”
John underwent an overnight sleep study that measured his brain waves, eye movements, blood oxygen levels, breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. Two hours into the test, an attendant noted that John had severe sleep apnea, interruptions in his breathing during sleep. She connected him to a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which delivers a constant stream of air through a facemask. “I couldn’t believe how much better I felt in the morning,” he says.
Later, while visiting his doctor to get his own CPAP machine, John joked, “There are only two ways that I’m leaving here: with my machine or a police escort.”
He ultimately received a heart transplant in 2016. Now 61 years old, his new heart and CPAP machine have given him a new lease on life.
The heart connection: John’s sleep apnea and heart disease may seem unrelated, but experts suspect a connection…
Read the full article to learn more. MyApnea researcher, Dr. Redline, explains the connection between sleep apnea and heart health and talks about what the MyApnea community is doing to help!
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