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Severity of sleep apnea impacts risk of resistant high blood pressure

Filed in
  • Sleep apnea
  • Hypertension
  • Sleep Disorders

By Lynn Celmer  |  Aug 25, 2014
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A new study shows a link between severe, untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the risk of high blood pressure even after using medications for high blood pressure. OSA is a common and serious sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing during sleep.

The current study included individuals participating in the baseline examination conducted for the Heart Biomarker Evaluation in Apnea Treatment (HeartBEAT) study. The study was a four-site randomized controlled trial. Participants with moderate to severe OSA and heart risk were recruited from cardiology practices.

Results show that about 58 percent of the patients with severe OSA had high blood pressure that didn’t improve with medication, compared to just over 28 percent of those with more moderate OSA.

“Over one-third of patients with hypertension and nearly eight out of 10 patients with treatment resistant hypertension have obstructive sleep apnea,” said American Academy of Sleep Medicine President Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler. “People who have high blood pressure should talk to a doctor about their risk for sleep apnea.”

About 36 million American adults with high blood pressure don’t have it under control, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that about 80 percent of people with drug-resistant high blood pressure have OSA.

You can get expert help for OSA at an AASM-accredited sleep center near you.