Conditions That Should Prompt Sleep Testing
However, heart doctors acknowledge that some heart conditions are so strongly associated with sleep apnea that their mere presence should be considered a cause for sleep testing. Two of these are drug-resistant hypertension and atrial fibrillation.
Drug-resistant hypertension (high blood pressure) is strongly associated with sleep apnea. Multiple studies confirm that more than 80% of people with this condition have sleep apnea. This means that nearly five out of six people with drug-resistant hypertension also have obstructive sleep apnea. People with drug-resistant hypertension might not be able to get relief from their condition unless they are also getting their sleep apnea treated.
Atrial fibrillation is a type of heart arrhythmia. In this arrhythmia, chaotic electrical signals in the heart keep it from pumping as regularly as it should—instead, the atria quiver. Not only does this keep blood from circulating efficiently, but it also causes blood to pool in the heart, where it can form clots that can travel to the brain, causing a stroke. Atrial fibrillation is not as strongly associated with sleep apnea. However, around half of patients with atrial fibrillation also have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea reduces the effectiveness of certain medications used to treat atrial fibrillation. In addition, people with untreated sleep apnea are more likely to see a recurrence of the condition. Therefore, people with this condition should also be screened for sleep apnea.
If you have either of these conditions and your doctor hasn’t recommended a sleep test in Columbus, you should consider requesting one on your own initiative.