Does Sleep Apnea Cause An Enlarged Heart?

Yes, sleep apnea can cause an enlarged heart due to lack of oxygen.

Have you been experiencing disruptions in breathing during your sleep and wondering if it’s linked to an enlarged heart? Studies have indicated that those suffering from sleep apnea may also have an increased risk for an enlarged heart.

Sleep Apnea is a potentially serious disorder, which involves pauses in breathing due to repeated interruptions to your sleep. It results from various causes such as physiological or anatomical factors, as well as lifestyle habits such as alcohol or drug use. An enlarged heart occurs when the walls of the organ become thickened, leading to a decrease in contractility and reduced pumping efficiency.

In this article we aim to explore whether there is a connection between sleep apnea and an enlarged heart. We will discuss the possible causes of both disorders, their effects on your health, and whether there are any treatment options available.

How to tell if my heart is enlarged?

An enlarged heart is a condition in which the heart’s walls are thickened and its size is increased. It is estimated that around 6 million people in the US have an enlarged heart, though many of them may not even know it. Generally, people with an enlarged heart are not aware of it until they experience other symptoms such as chest pain or dizziness. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with any type of disorder or heart disease, if you experience chronic chest tightness or discomfort you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.

In some cases, an electrocardiogram (ECG) can identify an enlarged heart from certain abnormalities on the waveforms of cardiac electrical activity displayed through a monitor. Other tests used to diagnose this condition include echocardiograms, stress tests and cardiac MRI scans which look for any changes in pumping capacity and chamber enlargement.

If you have been experiencing shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue or fainting spells then these may be indications of an enlarged heart and require medical attention immediately. It’s important to remember that good diet and regular exercise can help reduce your risk for this condition so staying active and making healthy choices can go a long way towards keeping your heart healthy!

Does sleep apnea cause an enlarged heart?

Yes, over time, sleep apnea can cause an enlarged heart. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can lead to decreased oxygen levels in the blood and cause strain on the heart muscles as it has to work harder to pump oxygenated blood throughout the body. This increased workload can eventually lead to cardiac remodeling, causing the walls of the heart to become thicker and its size to increase. If OSA is left untreated, it can put a person at risk for developing an enlarged heart over time.

In addition, studies have found that people with OSA are more likely to develop atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This can restrict blood flow, cause more stress, and disrupt heart function which can also contribute to an enlarged heart.

What else does sleep apnea do to the heart?

In addition to causing an enlarged heart, sleep apnea can also lead to other issues with the cardiovascular system. People suffering from OSA are more likely to experience high blood pressure, arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), and a higher risk of stroke and heart attack. The lack of oxygen in the body due to sleep apnea can also cause damage to the coronary arteries, leading to an increased risk for developing coronary artery disease.

Other long-term consequences include an increased risk for atrial fibrillation (afib) and congestive heart failure, both of which can have serious and potentially fatal outcomes if left untreated. While not every person will develop these conditions as a result of sleep apnea, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and to seek medical attention if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

Will treating sleep apnea help an enlarged heart?

Treating sleep apnea can help an enlarged heart, as reducing the interruptions in breathing during sleep can decrease the amount of strain placed on the heart. In some cases, lifestyle modifications such as avoiding alcohol and drugs, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking and sleeping on your side may be enough to alleviate symptoms of OSA. However, more serious cases may require the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or other treatments such as oral appliances or surgery.

In addition to treating sleep apnea itself, medications or other treatments may be prescribed to manage any underlying conditions that could be contributing to an enlarged heart. For example, if you have high blood pressure or diabetes then doctors may prescribe medications to regulate these factors which can help improve heart health.


In conclusion, there is a link between obstructive sleep apnea and an enlarged heart. People with OSA are more likely to develop cardiac remodeling due to the strain placed on the heart from lower oxygen levels in the blood. Additionally, those with OSA are at an increased risk for developing atherosclerosis, which can further contribute to an enlarged heart. If you have been experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea or have been diagnosed with it, then it is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible in order to reduce your risk of any heart condition.

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