Keep your heart safe with CPAP
If untreated, sleep apnea can make the heart work harder. The harder the heart has to work, the more chance you could have a heart attack. People with untreated severe sleep apnea have 3 times the risk of having a fatal or nonfatal heart problem compared to people who are healthy. But, the good news is that if you use your CPAP while you sleep, you may reduce your risk and help to prevent a heart attack from happening.
The stress of sleep apnea leads to heart attacks
People with sleep apnea are more likely to have a heart attack than people without the condition. Studies have shown this to be true. One study found that untreated sleep apnea increases the risk of a heart attack by more than twice as much as smoking.
When you have sleep apnea, your airway gets blocked repeatedly while sleeping. This stops your body from getting enough oxygen, which can make your blood pressure go up and can lead to heart failure. One study found that 91% of people with a heart attack between midnight and 6 am also had sleep apnea. This suggests that sleep apnea may cause heart attacks. Also, when the body doesn't get enough oxygen, it can build up toxins, giving you a bigger chance of having a heart attack.
CPAP keeps your heart healthy
The good news is CPAP helps reduce the chance of having a heart attack for people with sleep apnea. By keeping the airway open, the body gets the oxygen it needs. When oxygen levels are normal, you can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks. One study showed that by using CPAP, the risk of a heart attack is lowered by almost one-half over 10 years.
Marin JM et al. Long-term cardiovascular outcomes in men with obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea with or without treatment with continuous positive airway pressure: an observational study. Lancet 2005.
Frost & Sullivan. Hidden health crisis costing America billions: Underdiagnosing and undertreating obstructive sleep apnea draining healthcare system. 2016
Shapiro C et al. CPAP adherence: factors and perspectives. Springer 2022.
Kuniyoshi FH et al. Day-night variation of acute myocardial infarction in obstructive sleep apnea. J Am Coll Cardiol 2008.