What’s up, Doc?

November 17, 2013
(Thinkstock) (Thinkstock)

Don’t let it keep you up at night, but new research suggests that obstructive sleep apnea can injure your heart.

The brief pauses in breathing caused by a blocked airway are associated with damage to heart tissue, says lead researcher Dr. Amil M. Shah of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“If you’ve been told you’re a snorer, or that you stop breathing or gasp during sleep, you should be tested for sleep apnea, because it may have cardiovascular implications,” he says.

Past studies have linked sleep apnea to heart attacks, but this study — of 1,645 men and women in their 50s and 60s — was the first to find early evidence of heart injury in the form of elevated high sensitivity troponin T, a protein that leaks out of damaged heart tissue.

Sadie Dingfelder is a features writer for the Washington Post Express.
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