DR. DONALD JOHNSON: Obesity and sleep apnea link

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Dr. Marilyn Lawrence-Wright, a cardiologist at Jamaica’s Heart Foundation spoke about the connection between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and obesity. She said that there is a direct relationship between obesity and OSA.

It is well known that cardiovascular risk increases in OSA patients. They have a predisposition to irregular heartbeats known as arrhythmias and therefore they may have a predisposition to sudden death.

She said that a common arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation (AFib). AFib, itself, raises the risk of clots forming in the heart, which can migrate to the brain and cause a stroke.

OSA is a dangerous respiratory condition. It is a condition in which the airway collapses during sleep. With OSA the breathing slows or stops completely. The oxygen level in the blood decreases which increases the patient’s cardiovascular risk.

Dr. Lawrence-Wright pointed out that people don’t have to be obese (BMI over 30) to have OSA. But, she further pointed out that increased BMI in body mass increases both the risk and the severity of OSA and the cardiovascular risk. Dr. Lawrence-Wright warned that people should watch out for the signs of OSA which include snoring, morning headaches, and daytime sleepiness.

Lawrence-Wright explained that the daytime sleepiness is a result of constant interruptions in sleep during the night, snoring is a result of a collapsing airway which speeds up the airflow through the airway, and morning headaches come about from excess carbon dioxide in the blood in the morning from lack of oxygen during the night.

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Dr. Donald Johnson founded Northwest Treatment Center for Snoring & Sleep Apnea in Coeur d’Alene to help patients stop their snoring and live free with no limits! Obstructive sleep apnea is usually able to be treated with a small oral appliance. Dr. Johnson’s office is at 114 W. Neider Ave., near Costco. The website for more information is www.NWSleepDoc.com and the office phone is 208-667-4551. Schedule a free consultation appointment today!

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