Does Sleep Position Matter
AFib patients know that they need to get high-quality sleep. Therefore, many wonder if there is an atrial fibrillation sleep position. While there is no specific position, certain postures can help. Side sleeping is the favorite position of health experts. They recommend sleeping specifically on the left side. This is the best position for blood flow and breathing while sleeping. However, sleep position is just one factor. An overall healthy lifestyle can further improve your health.
Its also important that patients use good bedtime routines. This can help to improve overall sleep quality. Try to go to bed at the same time every night. Also, limit food and electronics in the hours leading up to bedtime.
Is There A Natural Way To Treat Sleep Apnea Without A Cpap
There is no natural supplement or pill that can reverse sleep apnea. However, a few lifestyle modifications can improve sleep apnea symptoms, such as decreasing or eliminating alcohol and tobacco use. The lifestyle modification most associated with improvement in sleep apnea is weight loss, as reducing extra weight on the upper airway can reduce obstructions and improve airflow throughout the night.
Will Sleep Apnea Treatment Reverse A
As sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation go hand-in-hand, many patients ask me if their atrial fibrillation will go into remission with sleep apnea treatment.
A recent study showed that treating sleep apnea decreased the risk of atrial fibrillation by 42%. Even if sleep apnea treatment does not make your A-Fib go away,at least it will make your A-fib much easier to treat.
For example, if you and your physician ultimately decide on a catheter ablation procedure to treat your A-Fib, having your sleep apnea under control doubles your chances of a successful procedure. In this study, if you had sleep apnea, and refused treatment for the sleep apnea, your chances of a successful ablation procedure was only 37%.
Clearly, if you want to successfully treat your A-Fib, you cannot ignore underlying sleep apnea!
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What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious sleep-related medical condition. Sleep apnea causes a person to stop breathing for periods of time during their sleep. Caused by a partial or full blockage of the upper airway during sleep, apnea episodes can occur multiple times throughout the night and can last up to 30 seconds in duration. The longer the period of apnea lasts, the longer the brain, heart, and body are subjected to low levels of oxygen.
It is estimated that over 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea with around 80% of all moderate to severe cases going undiagnosed. Sleep apnea is usually diagnosed by monitoring a patient during a sleep study, which can be performed either in a sleep lab, or with an at-home sleep study.
Abnormal Oxygen Saturation Level During Sleep May Raise A
The study involved 8,256 adults of an average age of 47 years. All adults had suspected OSA at study baseline, but they had not been diagnosed with A-fib or any other condition involving irregular heartbeat.
The researchers reviewed the medical records of each patient. They looked at markers of OSA severity, including how many partial or complete breathing pauses occurred during each hour of sleep, and how much time patients spent with abnormal oxygen saturation, defined as an oxygen saturation below 90 percent.
During a median follow-up period of 10 years, a total of 173 patients developed A-fib that required hospitalization.
The researchers found that patients with abnormal oxygen saturation were at a significantly greater risk of developing A-fib during follow-up than those with a normal oxygen saturation level the number of breathing pauses during each hour of sleep did not appear to affect A-fib risk.
âHypertension may be the causal pathway between OSA and AF , so including it might have diminished the association between OSA and AF,â says Dr. Kendzerska.
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Sleep Apnea And Afib: 3 Facts You Should Know
During atrial fibrillation , the heartâs upper chambers beat irregularly and out of sync with its lower chambers. This results in an abnormal, rapid heartbeat of 100 to 175 beats per minute, according to Mayo Clinic. The Heart Rhythm Society reports that approximately half of those who have atrial fibrillation also have sleep apneaâa sleep disorder that causes disrupted breathing and oxygen deprivation during sleep. Read on for 3 key facts about the links between atrial fibrillation and sleep apnea.
Does Sleep Apnea Cause Atrial Fibrillation
Kathy never seemed to get a good night of sleep. Her husband, John, told me she snores like a train and then stops breathing. After a pause, she gasps for air, and then goes back to sleep.
Does this sound like someone you know? If so, they likely have a condition called sleep apnea. Not only does sleep apnea make people feel tired all of the time but it also puts them at high risk for high blood pressure, heart failure, sudden cardiac arrest, and atrial fibrillation.
In this article, I will discuss why sleep apnea is so dangerous and treatment options to avoid this risk.
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Sleep Apnea And Atrial Fibrillation: Whats The Link
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes pauses in breathing during sleep. Although people with this disorder do not always realize that they have it, and that their sleep is being briefly interrupted throughout the night, sleep apnea can increase the risk of developing a number of serious issues, including stroke, heart failure, and diabetes.
Sleep apnea also increases the risk of developing an irregular heartbeat. Afib is one form of irregular heartbeat, in which the heart’s two upper chambers beat in a chaotic fashion that puts them out of sync with the organ’s lower chambers.
Obstructive sleep apnea , the most common type of sleep apnea, has a close relationship with AFib. According to the Heart Rhythm Society, one of the long-term risks of untreated obstructive sleep apnea is cardiovascular problems, including AFib.
Many people across the U.S. are affected by both sleep apnea and AFib. âAtrial fibrillation affects about 6 million Americans and sleep apnea affects approximately 22 million Americans,â Anthony Puopolo, MD, Chief Medical Officer at RexMD, tells WebMD Connect to Care. âResearch reveals that thereâs a strong link between AFib and obstructive sleep apnea. Roughly half of all AFib patients also have OSA.â
How Do You Know If You Have Sleep Apnea
Waking symptoms of sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation are often similar and not very specific, Dr. Abraham says.
Symptoms that suggest you might have sleep apnea are daytime sleepiness, fatigue, excessive urination, moodiness, and cognitive impairment.
Symptoms of atrial fibrillation often come on suddenly and include shortness of breath and lightheadedness. Other symptoms may include a feeling of weakness, a rapid heart rate, palpitations, or chest pain.
There are no special symptoms of the two together, says Robert Rosenberg, DO, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley in Flagstaff, Arizona. If youre diagnosed with afib, your healthcare provider should inquire about snoring or any other signs or symptoms of co-existent sleep apnea, he says. Seeing a sleep specialist is the next step in determining whether you have sleep apnea.
Treating obstructive sleep apnea reduces the risk for recurrence of an irregular heart rhythm for patients whove had a catheter ablation to stop their atrial fibrillation, found a clinical study published in the July 2013 Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
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It Is Also Important To Understand The Common Symptoms Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Which Can Include:
Episodes where you stop breathing during sleep
Gasping for air during sleep
Excessive daytime sleepiness
Over time, untreated sleep apnea can lead to the onset of health diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and AFib. In addition, it has also been shown that sleep apnea can directly trigger an arrhythmia to occur during sleep. The heart experiences mechanical stresses and chemical changes every time a person with sleep apnea experiences a period with poor oxygenation. These pathological stresses are believed to contribute to the development of AFib.
What Triggers Afib During Sleep
Atrial fibrillation has to do with the electrical signals of your heart. Normally, these signals are very regular, making up the reliable heartbeat were all familiar with. But, people with atrial fibrillation experience irregularities or quivers in their heartbeat.
Some researchers connect nighttime awakening with a disturbance in these electrical signals. If you have sleep apnea, you might wake up several times during the night due to a sudden lack of oxygen. These sudden awakenings cause mechanical stresses and chemical changes in your heart.
The idea here is that these frequent moments of waking up during sleep might be linked to heart irregularities. Over time, this may contribute to the development of conditions like atrial fibrillation.
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How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Afib
Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart arrhythmia worldwide. The prevalence of AFib is increasing every year at the current rate, the CDC estimates that over 12 million Americans will be diagnosed with AFib by the year 2030.
While AFib has been proven to be associated with medical conditions like strokes, there has been an increase in research demonstrating the connection between AFib and obstructive sleep apnea .
In this article, I will share some current research about AFib and OSA to better explain the connection between both conditions.
Effects Of Osa Therapy On Af
While there is mounting evidence for a significant association between OSA and AF, the investigations that have been performed to date have tended to be small observational studies. These studies, while compelling, are subject to inherent flaws that prevent certainty of opinion. Of course, the role of OSA in the pathogenesis of cardiac arrhythmias would be greatly clarified if it could be shown that treatment of OSA altered the anticipated frequency of AF. Several studies have addressed this using a variety of interventional techniques including uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, tracheostomy, and continuous positive airway pressure .,,
CPAP may reduce the frequency of AF by modifying some the inciting factors thought to promote AF in OSA including sympathetic activation, systemic inflammation, hypoxemia, cardiac dysfunction, and hypertension. While the preceding studies suggest that relief of airway obstruction and the resultant nocturnal desaturations in OSA patients with either tracheostomy or CPAP results in significant improvement or reversal of cardiac arrhythmias including AF, the current burden of evidence is insufficient to draw conclusive opinions, and will require further investigation with randomized trials to be resolved.
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The Curious Sleep Apnea And Heart Rhythm Connection
After surgery, a patient with sleep apnea discovered she also had atrial fibrillation, a serious irregular heart rhythm.
Dealing with one chronic condition can be difficult dealing with two or more amps up the challenge for your heart. That’s something all too familiar to Rhonda Marie Clare Harvey-Collens, 52, of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. She lives with rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, and the abnormal heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation.
Harvey-Collens was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation in 2007 while recovering from surgery for a life-threatening infection. The biologic drug she was taking for rheumatoid arthritis suppressed her immune system, and an infection took hold. This happened not once, but twice.
When doing my vital signs, they realized something was not quite right with my pulse and discovered I had atrial fibrillation, Harvey-Collens says.
Because the infections had nearly killed her, she started seeing a psychiatrist for post-traumatic stress disorder . I was telling her I had a horrible time sleeping, and had anxiety-driven nightmares, she says. She recalls that she was terribly frightened about what was happening to her.
Her psychiatrist ordered a sleep study, which confirmed obstructive sleep apnea: a sleep disorder in which people stop breathing multiple times when they’re asleep.
How Getting Good Sleep Protects Your Heart
Sleep Apnea Can Increase The Risk Of Developing Atrial Fibrillation
The Heart Rhythm Society reports that some common risk factors for atrial fibrillation include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
The Society also reports that sleep apnea is a lesser-known cause of atrial fibrillation that isn’t completely understood. However, it is a fact that those who have sleep apnea have four times the risk of developing atrial fibrillation. The possible reasons for this include:
- In the absence of treatment, sleep apnea can lead to the development of atrial fibrillation risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes.
- Sleep apnea is a direct trigger of arrhythmias, or irregularities in heart rhythm, during sleep.
- The stresses and chemical changes that happen in the body as a result of sleep apnea-related oxygen deprivation may subsequently lead to the development of atrial fibrillation.
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How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Atrial Fibrillation
As mentioned above, the mechanical stress the heart goes through during sleep apnea can develop or progress atrial fibrillation. Not to say, sleep apnea also shares common comorbidities with atrial fibrillation like obesity, hypertension, diastolic dysfunction, and more.
With that in mind, individuals diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea are two to four times more likely to develop atrial fibrillation.
Can Cpap Treatment Help Afib
Continuous positive airway pressure treatment is one of the most common ways doctors treat sleep apnea. But if sleep apnea is connected to AFib, can CPAP therapy treat both at the same time?
Well, not exactly. CPAP therapy does not directly treat or prevent AFib. But, as we described in the previous two sections, sleep apnea can interfere with AFib treatment and prevention methods.
So, sleep apnea treatment methods like CPAP therapy can potentially increase efforts against AFib. For people at risk of developing AFib, this might include antiarrhythmic prevention treatment.
Researchers have linked sleep apnea and AFib in a variety of ways. First, they consider the effects of sleep quality itself on the development of AFib. Sleep apnea results in sleep disturbances, potentially leading to a higher risk of developing AFib.
Then theres the possibility that sleep apnea symptoms like hypoxia and inflammation might cause AFib.
Finally, theres the effect of sleep apnea on AFib care. Multiple studies have connected continuous airflow with successful AFib prevention efforts and treatment methods. When your sleep apnea is under control, you might have better chances of handling AFib.
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The Relationship Between Osa And Af
The pathophysiologic mechanisms of the association between AF and OSA are complex and likely multifactorial. Controversy over this association and its directionality exists, because of the high incidence of cardiovascular comorbidities in patients with OSA and AF. Patients with OSA have a higher incidence of AF than the general population.
Most of the evidence suggests a strong association between OSA and AF. Animal studies have shown autonomic nervous system imbalances brought on by hypoxia as well as hypercapnia may precipitate electrical changes in atria that predispose to AF . Studies in rats have shown that fluctuations in intrathoracic pressure resulted in cardiac structural remodeling with increased left atrial dilatation and increased fibrosis .
Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea
Snoring, especially loud persistent snoring is a very common symptom. Pauses in your breathing or gasping for air in your sleep are other classic symptoms.
Unfortunately, unless you sleep with a partner and they witness these symptoms, they may go undetected.
Other common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Waking up with headaches
- Waking up just as tired as you were when you went to bed
- Inability to concentrate or focus
- Difficulty staying awake during the day
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
You’ve probably heard sleep apnea is a condition that primarily affects overweight people. While it’s true being overweight or obese is a primary risk factor, people who are at an ideal weight can be at risk as well, so don’t let your weight be your gauge.
Instead, watch for any of the symptoms outlined above. And if you have atrial fibrillation, you’ll especially want to be mindful of the possibility of sleep apnea as you’ll see in a minute.
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Atrial Fibrillation May Also Cause Sleep Apnea
According to a 2017 article published by Frontiers in Neurology, the relationship between obstructive sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation is likely bidirectional, meaning that the two conditions can cause each other.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of the sleep apnea, and itâs caused by the abnormal relaxation of muscles in the upper airway, which blocks and interrupts proper breathing during sleep. The condition has been shown to be an independent risk factor for stroke, and it also may increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation.
The Link Between Sleep Apnea And Afib
Hi everyone. I know that this discussion probably belongs in the heart group but I have made several friends here and feel comfortable asking this question. I was recently diagnosed with sleep apnea and am adjusting well thanks to all of you. Half a year ago I was diagnosed with AFib and it was my cardiologist that ordered a sleep study. He feels that there is a link between sleep apnea and AFib. I just had a bad episode for 15 hours yesterday but thankfully am back in rhythm right now. I am curious as to how many of you with sleep apnea have AFib also?
Thank you always for your responses.CeCe55
Yes there is a link. Cutting off the oxygen in sleep apnea results in shutting down the heart. This results in blood clots which lead to heart attacks and strokes. My father and his family had afib from sleep apnea which resulted in strokes and heart attacks which killed them. Years ago nobody realized the link so nobody was treated. My father unfortunately was diagnosed just before dieing from a stroke.
I have had sleep apnea for 5 years and faithfully wear a CPAC. A month ago I was diagnosed with AFIB.
Hi JMB73thanks for responding. While I do not wish AFIB on anyone, I am still curious as to who has the combination? I am told a lot of people have AFIB but it is the silent type and until they go for a physical exam, they do not know it. Have a blessed Sunday!
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