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6 Surprising Signs of an Unhealthy Heart

by Melanie Haiken

unhealthy heart

#2 – Snoring, Sleep Apnea

If you snore loudly enough to keep your sleeping partner awake or to force him or her to resort to earplugs, your heart may be at risk as well.

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Restricted breathing during sleep — the underlying cause of snoring — is linked with all types of cardiovascular disease. Sleep apnea, in which breathing briefly stops during sleep, is linked with a higher risk of both cardiovascular disease and heart attack.

Scary stat: Those with sleep apnea were found to have three times the normal risk of having a heart attack within five years.

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Why it happens: Sleep-disordered breathing, which includes sleep apnea and a lesser condition known as UARS, lowers the blood oxygen that feeds the heart.

Obstructive sleep apnea is thought to damage the right side of the heart, which has to pump harder to support the lungs, which are strained by trying to overcome the airway obstruction.

What to do: Any sleep-related breathing problem is a clue that something’s wrong, so call the doctor. She may recommend a sleep study, but get your heart checked out too.

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#3 – Sore, swollen, or bleeding gums

Sore, swollen, or bleeding gums are symptoms not only of periodontal disease — in which exposure to bacteria causes the gums to become inflamed and pull away from the teeth — but also a possible early sign of underlying cardiovascular disease.

Scary stat: A 2010 study by the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) estimated that the prevalence of periodontal disease may be underestimated by as much as 50 percent.

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