Healthy Heart

Sleep Apnea Is a Heartbreaker

Because obstructive sleep apnea is caused by obesity, it's linked to heart disease and stroke

Obstructive sleep apnea, often called OSA, is related to obesity, which is another big risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Aside from obesity being a possible contributor to sleep apnea, the sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea can cause an endless cycle, which can lead to one’s obesity worsening, according to Dr. Arnett. In OSA cases, the upper airway becomes constricted and very narrow due to the muscles, which normally prop the upper airway open, losing their tone. The more weight there, the more profound the amount of muscle tone lost, increasing the severity of the sleep apnea. Each time the airway closes, there is a lapse in breathing.