Sleep-related chest pain and myocardial infarction

Chest pain is a symptom familiar to many middle-aged and older people.

Unpleasant sensations behind the sternum accompany angina pectoris and usually occur with effort.

As a rule, such pains annoy during the day, at times when a person is most active.

However, it is far from always being associated with stress and waking.

Sleep disturbances such as obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) can cause attacks of angina pectoris nocturnal and even cause a heart attack…*Source:

Also, with syndrome apnea, a person can complain of chest pain that is not related to the heart at all.

Coronary heart disease in obstructive sleep apnea syndrome

Obstructive sleep apnea is also as we have already seen in several articles here on sleepdeepme, a complication of the snoring.

With this disease, against the background of narrowing of the airways, a person periodically experiences a respiratory arrest during sleep ( apnea ) which lasts more than 10 seconds.

At this time, an intense release of anxiety hormones occurs in your body, which have a harmful effect on organs and tissues, mainly on the heart and blood vessels.

Repeated repetition of apnea episodes contributes to the appearance of persistent pathological changes in the cardiovascular system.

The disease leads to an increase in blood pressure, an accelerated development of atherosclerosis, angina pectoris or other forms of coronary heart disease.

So a person with sleep apnea syndrome gradually develops an angina pectoris “ diurnal ”. At first, it can only occur during physical and other exertion, but then the pain attacks behind the sternum begin to occur in sleep, mainly during respiratory arrest.

In these moments, the heart of the sleeping person beats faster and more often due to the lack of oxygen, therefore he does not experience less stress than a serious stress that a person could endure during the day.

In patients with OSAS, the risk of myocardial infarction is 3-5 times higher.

Chest pain is often related to myocardial infarction

Sometimes it happens that a heart attack in these patients, such as notorious attacks of angina pectoris, develops during sleep, under the influence of respiratory arrest.

If a person wakes up at night with intense and lacerating pain behind the sternum, if this pain persists for a long time ( more than 20 minutes ) and is not alleviated by nitroglycerin, an ambulance should be urgently called – most likely, the patient has a heart attack.

If you haven’t been tested for sleep apnea yet, evaluate the signs of illness.

It is a matter of shortness of breath, cough, sweating during sleep, severe daytime sleepiness, frequent urination, hypertension, decreased power. You can also do a test to determine OSAS.

Night apnea patients should start treatment as soon as possible. The disease is dangerous. In addition to accelerating the development of many diseases, daytime sleepiness with OSAS greatly increases the likelihood of injury or having an accident.

Heartburn ed reflux esophagitis in syndrome obstructive sleep apnea
In addition to coronary heart disease, nocturnal chest pains are also caused by reflux.

Reflux is the reflux of gastric content into the esophagus. A similar phenomenon is often observed in patients with OSAS. The heartburn, which occurs in this case, can manifest itself as a burning chest, which can be confused with the manifestation of heart disease.

During a pause in breathing, a person cannot breathe, as the walls of his pharynx are in a collapsed state and block the air flow.

However, the respiratory center, the respiratory muscles continue to function – the sleeper tries to inhale. From the outside, this is evident from the unsuccessful convulsive attempts to inhale, which a person does during apnea.

At this moment, fluctuations in intratoracic and intra-abdominal pressure occur, the stomach is compressed and this causes the reflux of its contents into the esophagus.

Gastric acid irritates the mucous membrane of the esophagus, “ accustomed ” to a neutral environment, and a heartburn attack occurs.

Over time, burning of the nocturnal stomach with OSAS can turn into a day. This occurs when, against the background of recurrent reflux, a person develops chronic reflux esophagitis.

Conclusions on chest pain

Hence, chest pain is a symptom that is often found in sleep apnea and can be caused by pathologies of the cardiovascular and digestive system.

In both cases, patients may request specific treatment aimed at combating coronary heart disease and reflux esophagitis.

However, the cornerstone of therapy should be to fight the cause: obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. The main method for the treatment of OSAS is CPAP therapy, a structural method that eliminates respiratory arrest during sleep.

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