Heart health and sleep apnoea on the same beat

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  Last updated May 29, 2018 at 12:13 pm


A recent study showed that one in ten Australians may suffer from undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnoea. Due to the non-specificity of snoring, disregard of symptoms and failure to report to a medical professional, most cases will go untreated and continue to exacerbate.

An expert in blood vessel imaging, Jordan Andrews says her PhD in the Heart Health Theme at SAHMRI will investigate the effects treating sleep apnoea has on cardiovascular disease.

Using bio-imaging technology to view the inside of blood vessels, Ms Andrews is able to measure changes to blood vessels, while patients are receiving treatment for sleep apnoea. This means that they can assess whether treatments are having an effect on disease progression, which presents an opportunity to offer effective cardiovascular disease treatment solutions.

Obstructed sleep apnoea is caused by the relaxed state of tongue and airway muscles in the later stages of sleep, whereby the passage between your nose ans lungs is partly or completely blocked. This can create a break in breathing of up to 10 seconds.

Common symptoms can include daytime tiredness, waking up gasping for air and thick, throaty snores. Fragmented sleeping patterns can also be more frequent depending on the severity of the disorder, and that itself depends on the combination of risk factors such as smoking diabetes, and obesity, the same factors that can increase the chances of developing cardiovascular disease.

Originally from Cleveland Ohio, Ms Andrews was a foundation member of the Heart Health Theme at SAHMRI, and has had a fundamental role in numerous multisite international studies. Having always been fascinated with human biology, Ms Andrews finds her interest is always piqued by the translation of medical analysis to practical care.

“I am motivated by the fact that the research we are doing has the potential to be translated to the clinic to help improve cardiovascular health.”

Ms Andrews is Imaging Research Manager at the Vascular Research Centre within SAHMRI’s Heart Health Theme and PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide.

About the Author

Alayna Hansen
A freelance science writer based in Melbourne, Australia. I've been curious about science and the natural world for as long as I've been able to talk the leg off an iron pot. If you can't find me at a zoo, observatory, or running around with a microphone, I'm probably imitating David Attenborough documentaries again.

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