The sleep disorder, known as sleep apnea, affects about 12 million people living in the Unites States, and medical experts say that it can lead to other, more serious health conditions like high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and even diabetes.
Those who suffer from sleep apnea can reduce its symptoms by using a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP).
According to a recent study, the CPAP machine can also reduce the symptoms of a type of arrhythmia known as atrial fibrillation.
Dr. Larry Chinitz, researcher at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City is one of the scientists who conducted the new study.
Along with his colleagues, Dr. Chinitz collected the results of seven previous studies that involved more than 1,000 patients who suffer from sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation.
The researchers followed the patients for approximately 7 to 42 months.
After the patients were treated for their arrhythmia with surgery or medication, the symptom recurred in approximately 33% of the patients who used CPAP as a treatment.
The patients who didn’t use CPAP had a recurrence of about 58%, as per the researchers.
The scientists detailed their recent findings in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Clinical Electrophysiology.
According to recent reports, in 2010, more than five million Americans suffered from atrial fibrillation. The experts expect the number to rise to almost 12 million, by 2030.
Some of the symptoms of atrial fibrillation include unpleasant heart palpitations that can lead to stroke and heart failure.
This condition can currently be treated using special medication and a procedure known as catheter ablation with pulmonary vein isolation. This removes the damaged electrical pathway from heart’s sections.
Dr. Chinitz said that the CPAP proved to be effective and can reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation.
But because CPAP implies using masks while sleeping, most people find it uncomfortable and don’t comply with it.
Atrial fibrillation needs a proper diagnosis for the doctors to be able to assess the risks and determine whether the patient needs therapy.
According to Chinitz, if left unidentified, the condition can be dangerous.
Patients who suffer from atrial fibrillation need to be tested to see if they also have obstructive sleep apnea.
Those who do suffer from sleep apnea need to use CPAP as a treatment in order to reduce the symptoms of the atrial fibrillation.
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