Health

Cardiologist: People must be aware of connection between obesity and sleep apnoea

Thursday, February 01, 2018

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THE Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) is encouraging Jamaicans to be aware of the connection between overweight/obesity and sleep apnoea, which can affect their health.

Consultant cardiologist at the foundation, Dr Marilyn Lawrence-Wright, told JIS News that obstructive sleep apnoea is directly related to overweight and obesity. “We do know that the cardiovascular risk is increased in these patients. They are more predisposed to arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) and they can be predisposed to sudden death,” she said.

Dr Lawrence-Wright pointed out that one of the more common ones is atrial fibrillation, which, if undetected, increases the risk of forming clots in the heart, which can predispose persons to having a stroke.

“Sleep apnoea is a respiratory condition in which the airways close down while you are sleeping. The breathing rate slows or the person stops breathing completely; the oxygen level goes down and it increases cardiovascular risk,” she explained.

Dr Lawrence-Wright warned, however, that people do not have to be obese to have sleep apnoea, and pointed out that an increase in body mass improves the risk and severity of the condition. She said persons should look out for the signs of sleep apnea, such as snoring, morning headaches and daytime somnolence (sleepiness).

Dr Lawrence-Wright explained that the sleepy feelings come about when sleep is interrupted throughout the night.

“As the oxygen level falls, it lessens the depth of your sleep and very often persons with sleep apnoea are sleepy during the day. If they are sitting unengaged they will fall asleep very easily” she said.Heart Month will be observed during the month of February with a focus on healthy nutrition.

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