Sleep Apnea associated with Irregular Heartbeats

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[Best Syndication News] Breathing problems while sleeping in older men have been linked to an increased risk of developing abnormal heart rhythms (arrhthmias). Other names for sleep disordered breathing and sleep-related breathing disorders is sleep apnea. A report in the June 22nd issue of Archives of Internal Medicine discussed the relationship between the two conditions.

Reena Mehra, M.D., M.S., of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, and colleagues studied 2,911 men that underwent a sleep study between 2003 and 2005. They noted the how many times the men experienced an apnea event where there is a brief pause in breathing and hypopnea which is shallow breathing while they were sleeping. They also accounted if there were any periods of time when oxygen levels would dip below 90 percent.

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The researchers found that the more episodes that the men had of paused or shallow breathing increased the chances of them developing two kinds of arrhythmias one located in the atria or the upper chamber of the heart and one located in the lower chamber of the ventricles.

Obstructive sleep apnea was found to be associated with the irregular heartbeats that occur in the lower chambers of the ventricles. There was also lower blood oxygen levels that were related to this kind of arrythmia. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airways.

Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain does not tell the body to breath. In this type of sleeping disordered breathing they were more likely to develop arrhythmias in the upper chambers or the atria of the heart.

The researchers point out that the more severe the sleep apnea the higher the chance of developing an arrhythmia.

BY: Marlene Donor

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