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No matter how tough you are, chest pain is one of those things that jolts anyone into a panic. Rightfully so, this kind of pain is never good and always demands our full attention. Unfortunately, the cause is just as mysterious as something like sleep apnea.
If you have both you may be scratching your head and wondering if they’re related.
First thing’s first: Go to the doctor. Right now. Chest pain raises a big, red flag and you should think of it as an emergency. Make sure it has nothing to do with your heart. Once that’s out of the way we can start to look at links between sleep apnea and the pain.
To be brief, obstructive sleep apnea is a repeated and momentary lack of sufficient oxygen during sleep. A number of factors contribute to loose throat muscles and the airway can get so small that your brain thinks you’re suffocating causing you to wake.
This pattern repeats itself hundreds of times a night and the sleep deprivation can really throw both your body and mind off.
Chest pain on the other hand is a little harder to define. Some primary causes include:
One of those conditions in particular has popped up time and time again whenever sleep apnea and chest pain are found together.
There are two main reasons that sleep apnea may be causing chest pain. The first is acid reflux. Both conditions seem to go hand in hand. The reason why isn’t clear but the sharp pain or dull throbbing of acid reflux is easy to mistake for a heart condition.
The second reason may be an oversight. If you’re using a CPAP machine, you may have forgotten about the settings on the device. The air pressure coming through the mask might be too high and not allow you to exhale properly. This causes a strain on your lungs and chest muscles. Luckily solving these isn’t complicated.
Acid reflux is easy enough to treat. Your doctor should be able to prescribe an acid blocker or other medication to help you cope and certain dietary changes can decrease the chance of it happening.
If the pain is because of your CPAP machine, adjusting the EPR setting or ramp pressure can do the trick. You’ll want to make sure you consult with an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor to make sure you know what you’re doing.