"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

How does lack of sleep affect the center?

Ask the doctor.

Question My husband is reluctant to get tested for sleep apnea. But I'm pretty sure he has it, and I'm concerned because I've heard it might probably contribute to heart disease. How are these two terms related?

Oh As you most likely already know, individuals with sleep apnea may snore loudly and gasp periodically for breath throughout the night. These explosive snorts often get up bed partners or roommates — though not necessarily the snoring.

Obstructive sleep apnea (because the condition is officially called) occurs when the tongue or throat tissue temporarily blocks the airway during sleep, sometimes as much as 30 times per hour. The condition affects people of all ages and sizes, but is more common in men over 40 who’re chubby or obese. And you're right: it’s closely related to heart disease.

Here's why: Whenever an individual with sleep apnea stops respiration, the body's oxygen levels drop. The body reacts by producing epinephrine (also called adrenaline), a stress hormone. Over time, high adrenaline levels can contribute to hypertension. Repeated increases in blood pressure levels can damage the liner of blood vessels, and sleep disturbances also can raise levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and other blood fats. These changes can result in clogged arteries and poor heart muscle function. People with untreated sleep apnea are twice as more likely to have a heart attack as those without the disorder.

One way doctors assess the likelihood of sleep apnea is the STOPBANG test, on the left. But a definitive diagnosis requires a sleep study.

Sleep Apnea Test: Stop Bang

A “yes” answer to a few or more of those questions indicates a possible sleep problem. Ask your doctor if you happen to must have a sleep study.


Snoring: Have you been told that you just snore?


drained: Do you are feeling drained many of the day?


obstacle: Do you realize if you happen to pause your respiration when you sleep, or has anyone seen you do it?


Pressure: Do you could have hypertension or do you are taking hypertension medication?


Body Mass Index (BMI): Is your BMI 30 or above? (For a calculator, see /bmi.)


age: Are you 50 or older?


Neck: Is your neck circumference greater than 16 inches (women) or 17 inches (men)?


Genre: are you male

If your husband is fearful about spending the night within the sleep lab, reassure him that almost all of the time it's not obligatory. Instead, a physician can prescribe an at-home test, using equipment you borrow from a sleep lab. It features a small, lightweight monitor and several other sensors that measure oxygen levels, heart rate, airflow and body movements during sleep. Today, about 60% to 70% of sleep studies for suspected sleep apnea are done with at-home tests. If his symptoms suggest moderate to severe sleep apnea and he doesn't produce other serious medical problems, a house test is nearly as accurate at detecting apnea as a sleep lab test. A passing test.

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