Grand Junction, Colo. (KKCO) - More than 12 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, so a local doctor brought awareness to the issue at the Hospice Care Center as a part of Heart Health Awareness month.
Dr. Ross Pacini with Western Slope Cardiology spoke about the condition, which occurs when people stop breathing at night. This can lead to heart issues, such as high blood pressure, and can increase your chance of suffering a heart attack.
Each year millions of Americans who have sleep apnea go undiagnosed. It is one of the biggest risk factors that lead to heart disease.
"Heart disease being the number one killer a lot of people, their first diagnosis is they present with a heart attack, and we'd like people to get caught earlier then that. We'd like to help them with prevention earlier then that, and so we want them to understand the risk factors for heart disease and get those things treated ahead of time," says Dr. Pacini.
Some signs of sleep apnea are snoring, excessive weigh gain, and stopping breathing at night. Heart disease is also a very big issue for women-- not just men-- so its important to have check- ups with your doctor regularly.