Heart attack: Experts claim a vegan diet can 'help prevent' them
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Heart attacks occur when an artery supplying your heart with blood and oxygen becomes blocked, usually by a blood clot. The most common underlying cause of blood clots is coronary heart disease (CHD), a process whereby coronary arteries (the major blood vessels that supply the heart with blood) become clogged with deposits of cholesterol. These deposits are called plaques. A person who has sleep apnoea or experiences loud snoring could have an increased risk for the potentially fatal condition.
Sleep apnoea is diagnosed when you stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer or at least five times an hour during sleep.
Sleep apnoea may lower oxygen levels, activate the fight-or-flight response and change pressure in the chest when the upper airway closes, stressing the heart mechanically.
It may increase inflammation and cause unhealthy changes in blood vessels as well.
Sleep is essential for a person to have a healthy heart.
Those who don’t sleep enough are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease—regardless of age, weight, smoking and exercise habits, say health experts.
Researchers understand that sleeping too little causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes like glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and inflammation.
One of the reasons we know how vital sleep is to the heart is that patients with sleep apnoea (which causes them to wake frequently throughout the night) often have compromised heart health, said the Sleep Foundation.
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Sleep apnoea affects about millions of people worldwide, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, many of whom have not been undiagnosed.
Cleveland Clinic lists the symptoms of sleep apnoea which include:
- Loud snoring
- Stopped breathing during sleep, observed
- Daytime sleepiness
- Drowsy driving
- Waking up short of breath
- Waking up frequently to urinate without apparent cause
- Chest pain during sleep.
As sleep apnoea sufferers are constantly awakened, they have poor-quality sleep and feel exhausted all day.
They may also suffer from poor cardiovascular health, said Harvard Health.
The health site continued: “The sleep disorder is found in 47 percent to 83 percent of people with cardiovascular disease, 35 percent of people with high blood pressure, and 12 percent to 53 percent of people with heart failure, atrial fibrillation (a heart rhythm abnormality), and stroke.
“Researchers estimate that untreated sleep apnoea may raise the risk of dying from heart disease by up to five times.”
According to the NHS, losing weight if you are overweight can help to relieve snoring.
Losing weight also brings direct benefits to heart health because being overweight forces your heart to work harder to pump blood around your body, which can raise your blood pressure, a precursor to heart attacks.
The health body also recommends trying the following self-help tips to relieve snoring:
Sleep on your side – try taping a tennis ball to the back of your Sleepwear, or buy a special pillow or bed wedge to help keep you on your side
Consider asking your partner to use ear plugs if your snoring affects their sleep
You should also shun unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking and drinking too much alcohol to treat snoring, says the health site.
Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption also hike your risk for developing cardiovascular complications.
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