It’s a disorder that can cause snoring and irregular breathing while you sleep. Dr. Jose Colon, a sleep medicine physician with Lee Health, says sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders. “In males from 30 to 60 years of age there are about 25 percent of incidents of sleep apnea.”
But many patients don’t know they have the disorder. If left untreated, patients could be at risk for developing a heart problem. Lee Health cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Paul DiGiorgi says A-fib, or atrial fibrillation, is an irregular heartbeat, a condition that can be caused by sleep apnea. They may not know. They may not have any symptoms from their A fib either. That can be pretty common as well. “
Dr. Colon says studies have found connections between sleep apnea and A-fib. “If you’re not breathing very well in your sleep, that causes a lot of stress on your body which causes a lot of stress on your heart.”
Patients with A-fib symptoms may experience fatigue, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and chest pain. If a patient is also diagnosed with sleep apnea, doctors will treat both conditions separately.
“There are several ways to treat sleep apnea. The most common is something called C-pap which is pressure that opens up your air way,” said Dr. Colon.
There are also several treatment options for patients with A-fib. “There are many options available to them with medicines to where they shock the heart back, to ablations that are catheter based, and to ablations that are done in the operating room,” said Dr. DiGiorgi.
Excessive weight, smoking, and uncontrolled diabetes can increase the symptoms of sleep apnea and Afib, making it important to have a healthy lifestyle.
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