Sleep Apnea and High Blood Pressure: A Deadly Pair #It’sMoreThanSnoring

In our last post of the #It’sMoreThanSnoring campaign, we explored the combination of sleep apnea and obesity, and why it is so important to monitor your weight and exercise regularly.

Now we will transition into another important and serious issue: high blood pressure and its tie to sleep apnea.

These two conditions go together. Research shows that those with sleep apnea will have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure. There is even more research to prove that high blood pressure, referred to as the “silent killer”, can cause sleep apnea. Both conditions increase risk of stroke and heart attacks.

So how does having high blood pressure really contribute to sleep apnea? When you have OSA, the soft tissue around the throat relaxes during sleep therefore collapsing in on the airway. This obstruction in the airway prevents the body from breathing properly. OSA patients usually sleep with their mouths open, and oftentimes stop breathing before trying to take their next breath, with severe cases these “apnea events” can occur dozens of times per hour! Because of their restricted breathing, their oxygen levels drop, which can increase their blood pressure.

According to the medical journal Chest, 30-50 percent of those with high blood pressure suffer from sleep apnea. However, sleep apnea is more common in those who have tried to get their blood pressure under control but have not succeeded, which is called resistant hypertension.

For those with resistant hypertension, it is recommended that seeking treatment either via CPAP Therapy or Oral Appliance Therapy will produce noticeable effects on blood pressure reduction.

There are many coping mechanisms you can use if you or someone you know has high blood pressure and sleep apnea. If you know you have a dangerous level of high blood pressure, you should maintain a healthy lifestyle and get assessments every few months. But in order to treat your BP, first change your sleeping habits. Using a CPAP machine or oral appliance are recommended options, however, there are other changes you can make to quality sleep, such as getting regular exercise, limiting alcohol and caffeine intake and developing a nightly routine to ensure you will get good rest.

If you or someone you know if struggling with sleep apnea, please share this information. Here at Somerville Dental Sleep Medicine, we help patients who struggle with sleep apnea achieve quality sleep and a healthy lifestyle. Please reach out to us to schedule an appointment if you or someone you know is struggling with this condition.

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