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Sleep disorders cause cardiac arrhytmia
Do you know what atrial fibrillation is?


You have heard about Atrial Fibrillation: a bit complicated name, but an easy to understand problem!

The heart has to beat at a regular rhythm. When this rhythm is disturbed, i.e., when the heart starts beating faster and then slower only to speed up again, there is what we call arrhythmia. Atrial Fibrillation is one of several kinds of arrhythmias.

A Fibrilação Atrial, um subtipo de arritmia cardíaca muito comum, é caracterizada pelo ritmo de batimentos rápido e irregular dos átrios do coração. Segundo o artigo QUEM É O ESPECIALISTA EM ARRITMIAS CARDÍACAS? Publicado pela Sociedade Brasileira de Arritmias Cardíacas, em 2014, no site , um dos tipos de arritmia cardíaca mais prevalente no mundo é a Fibrilação Atrial, incide em 2,5% da população, o equivalente a 175 milhões de pessoas.

This is a silent condition, with a small number of specific symptoms. Its worst consequence is the risk for stroke (cerebrovascular accident, CVA). Nevertheless, patients often feel tired, breathless and as if their heart is beating very hard.

The risk factors for atrial fibrillation include:

  • Smoking
  • Sedentary lifestyle;
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Stress, etc.

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Why are we discussing all this? Because Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) can lead to Cardiac Arrhythmia and, therefore, those who do not enjoy quality sleep might be putting their health at risk!

The article Síndrome da Apneia Obstrutiva do Sono e Doenças Cardiovasculares, publicado na Revista Neurociências em 2014, no site, muitas pesquisas evidenciam que a Apneia do Sono é um fator de risco para o desenvolvimento de Fibrilação Atrial, sendo que a Apneia moderada a grave aumenta em até 4 vezes o risco dessa arritmia.

Patients with sleep apnea can develop cardiac arrhythmia because breathing becomes harder due to airway obstruction during sleep, usually with a drop in blood oxygen saturation, followed by a transient arousal from sleep to breath. The alternation between sympathetic and parasympathetic systems that occurs during sleep in patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) creates a perfect scenario for arrhythmias. Its main manifestations during sleep include snoring, pauses in breathing, fragmentation of sleep, all of which leading to daytime incapacitating problems such as excessive daytime sleepiness, cognitive disturbances (for instance, productivity loss due to difficulty concentrating and memorizing), and morning headaches. If you have one or more of these symptoms, your physician can request tests that will monitor your sleep and help him or her diagnose your condition.

To this end, one option is Sleep Apnea Digital Monitoring (SADM), the Biologix Sleep Test. It is a test you can conduct at home -simple, convenient, and effective, with no need to sleep at a sleep lab. Before going to sleep for the night, just place the Oxistar sensor, which is a high performance oximeter, on your finger and start the test using the Biologix App. Upon waking up, click on “end test” to get the result in a few seconds by e-mail.

This diagnosis can also be established by means of a more complex test called polysomnography. In this case, patients are required to sleep for one night at a sleep lab, where they are monitored using sensors that record the passage of air through nose and mouth, blood oxygenation, heart rate, brain activity, as well as chest and limb movements.

Now, what can you do to get treatment? If you were diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation as a consequence of Sleep Apnea, the treatment might involve a change in life habits in addition to medication and surgery. In more severe cases, Sleep Apnea treatment can take advantage of intraoral devices, breathing assistance devices, and even surgery to unblock the upper airways.

For severe cases, the best option is CPAP, acronym for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. This machine, through a mask covering your nose or face, uses continuous air pressure to keep your airways open while you sleep. Many studies seem to verify the beneficial effects of CPAP for apnea patients. It decreases intrathoracic pressure, hypoxia, acidosis levels, and arousal frequency, reducing cardiac arrhythmias, especially Atrial Fibrillation. In addition to reducing snoring, CPAP use does away with the risk for cardiovascular problems and hypertension stemming from apnea and snoring.

Waste no time; take care of yourself!

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this blog aims at assisting you in your education and is not intended to be construed in any manner as medical advice. Only physicians and dentists can diagnose diseases and prescribe treatments and medication. Thank you for visiting our website.

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