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Miscarriages & Heart Disease, From Sleep Apnea?

Posted Dec 02 2010 2:06pm

If you’ve been following my blog, I alluded to how infertility and miscarriages can be aggravated by obstructive sleep apnea or upper airway resistance syndrome. A recent study showed that having 3 miscarriages increases your chances of having heart disease by over 5 times normal.

If you think about the physiology, it makes sense: Breathing pauses during sleep, whether or not it’s an apnea, can cause a physiologic state of stress. In other words, you’ll have too much adrenaline, which you need to fight or run from danger. It’s also common knowledge that if you’re in a fight or flight situation, the last thing you need to do is to reproduce. Physiologically, stress has a way of diminishing or reducing nervous innervation and blood flow to your reproductive organs and digestive system (as well as your skin, hands and feet).

Since people with obstructive sleep apnea or upper airway resistance syndrome have narrowed upper airways, it’s not surprising that women who have frequent miscarriages can develop heart disease later on in life. Every time I see a patient that has a history of miscarriages or infertility, I see the same upper airway anatomy: small jaws and narrowed space behind the tongue. Most will not be able to sleep on their backs, have either cold hands or feet, or suffer from various gastrointestinal problems.

How many women with sleep apnea who are reading this blog had a miscarriage or infertility issues?

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