Hypertension And The Link To Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome


“Undiagnosed sleep apnea may explain the difficulty in controlling high blood pressure in some patients; improved hypertension control has been reported in patients after treatment of their sleep apnea.”

Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure

NIHpub. NO 98-4080,1997.

The NHLBI reports that about one in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure. It can damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys and other parts of the body. Another name for high blood pressure is “hypertension.”

High blood pressure is treated with lifestyle changes and medicines. Lifestyle changes include eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise and quitting smoking. Most people with high blood pressure will need lifelong treatment.

In 2008 a scientific statement reported that about 30 percent of people with high blood pressure also have sleep apnea. According to the AASM, OSA occurs when the muscles relax during sleep. As a result soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the upper airway. Breathing pauses can last from 10 seconds to a minute or longer.

These pauses can produce a severe drop in oxygen levels; they also can cause blood pressure to soar.

The AASM recommends CPAP therapy as the treatment of choice for mild, moderate and severe OSA. Research shows that CPAP can reduce blood pressure in people with sleep apnea.