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Sleep apnea and hypertension: proof at last?

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Sleep apnea has been reported to be one of the causes of chronic elevation of blood pressure levels in the general population. Sleep apnea is associated with recurrent episodes of cessation of respiratory airflow causing upper airway aspiratory collapse during sleep. Prevalence may vary in different populations and age groups. Untreated sleep apnoea leads to an increased risk of hypertension.

A study was conducted in 709 patients with sleep-disordered breathing and hypertension to evaluate this relation. Data was analyzed on sleep-disordered breathing, blood pressure, habitus and health history. Overnight participants were assessed by 18-channel polysomnography to identify the number of episodes of apnea and hypopnea per hour of sleep. The subjects were followed for a period of four years. Hypertension status, body-mass index, neck and waist circumference, age, sex, and weekly use of alcohol and cigarettes are considered for the assessment.

Dose response was related to sleep apnoea at the baseline and hypertension was reported after four years. The study concluded that there was a significant relation between sleep apnea and hypertension. However, it is not clear whether such increase in blood pressure caused due to apnea can cause adverse effects as with other causes of hypertension. Obesity is considered as one of the causes that increases the incidence of both sleep apnea and heart disorders. Thereby the increase in blood pressure in such individuals due to sleep apnea can accentuate the occurrence of heart disorders. Steps must be taken to bring about weight loss and decrease in high blood pressure to prevent further complications.

Source: http://thorax.bmj.com/content/56/suppl_2/ii45.extract

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: December 06, 2014

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