Does Sleep Apnea Cause Hypertension?

Does Sleep Apnea Cause Hypertension?

February 1, 2022

It has been an increasing trend that people with sleep apnea are more likely to have high blood pressure.
According to research, Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a recognized cause of secondary high blood pressure. OSA episodes produce surges in blood pressure that keep your mean pressure level elevated at night.

Some patients who have sleep apnea did not have issues with hypertension until they were diagnosed with sleep apnea. It indicates that they were already developing problems with their heart before they had their diagnosis of having Sleep Apnea.

What is Sleep Apnea?

When you have sleep apnea, your breathing is interrupted during sleep. It happens because the throat muscles relax and block their airway. The brain detects this and briefly wakes you up, causing you to open up the airways for air before going back to sleep. This process repeats itself throughout the night, including many times an hour.

Sleep apnea has three categories: obstructive, central, and mixed.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in your throat relax while sleeping and block your airway, so it narrows or closes.

Obstructive sleep apnea symptoms are characterized by snoring and gasping for air while sleeping. Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain does not send enough signals to your breathing muscles to keep them working properly. Mixed sleep apnea is a complex disorder that includes both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

OSA and other types of sleep apnea can cause problems and affect the quality of life. Some of the sleep apnea side effects or complications include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic snoring
  • Daytime headaches
  • Depression
  • Dry mouth

What is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is where the blood pressure in your arteries is higher than normal, either due to increased resistance to blood flow within the artery or increased pumping of blood by the heart.

Hypertension can either be primary or secondary. The former is due to no identifiable cause, while the latter may be due to kidney disease, certain heart conditions, or other problems.

Is There A Link Between Sleep Apnea and Hypertension?

Some studies show a link between sleep apnea and hypertension. People with sleep apnea are more likely to be hypertensive than those without sleep apnea. Obstructive or central sleep apnea was associated with higher blood pressure levels.

Obstructive sleep apnea shortens your sleep intervals, which often causes the blood pressure to increase. Why is this? OSA causes disrupted or limited breathing while you are asleep. This leads to hypoxemia or a drop in oxygen levels in the body. Hypoxemia increases blood flow, which pressure on the blood vessels’ walls which causes elevated blood pressure levels.

What are Sleep Disorders Types?

There are two types of sleep disorders: insomnia and hypersomnia.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that hinders your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or wake up too early.
It can be caused by stress, anxiety, depression, pain, other health concerns, or medications. It can also be a result of poor sleep hygiene and habits such as watching TV or working in the bedroom right before bedtime.

Hypersomnia is a condition in which a person feels excessively tired for an extended time.
Hypersomnia is often a symptom of other conditions that impair your sleep at night. However, it can be idiopathic and cannot be resolved by a full night’s sleep.

What Are the Sleep Apnea Treatments?

The treatments for this condition vary depending on the severity of the case and the type of sleep apnea. Some people use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine for treatment, which pushes air through their nose or mouth into their throat, helping them breathe more easily during sleep. Others use oral appliances that hold open their mouth and jaw during sleep to prevent obstructions from occurring in their throats.

Other sleep apnea treatments include weight loss, quitting smoking, medication, or surgery.

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