High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a very common health problem in which the amount of pressure in the blood as it travels through blood vessels is incredibly high 1, 2. High blood pressure doesn’t have symptoms and one can only find out they have the condition after taking a routine check 3, 4. Sleep apnea on the other hand is a form of sleep disorder that results in frequent lapses in breathing 5, 6. Sleep apnea can cause a person to snore loudly, and they may also experience pauses in their breathing. These pauses can last for a few seconds or even minutes. But how can sleep apnea cause high blood pressure?
Obstructive apnea may cause hypertension
Scientists have found a link between sleep apnea and high blood pressure 7. When you intermittently stop breathing during sleep, they release stress hormones and with obstructive sleep apnea, the hormones can cause high blood pressure and other conditions 8. Further research shows a connection between high blood pressure and obstructive sleep apnea. A report published in 2018 by the Journal of Hypertension 9 states that the link between chronic and acute surges in blood pressure and sleep apnea is exhaustively proven by scientific works and literature. As sleep apnea blocks airways, the blood pressure spikes since your heart is being forced to work extra harder to get oxygen throughout your body. While asleep, obstructive sleep apnea may activate the brain to pump more blood throughout the body, including the heart and brain. As a result of this, added pressure is put on the artery walls, increasing your blood pressure more than if you were breathing as normal.
The impacts of obstructive sleep apnea may cause blood pressure to remain elevated during the day
Even after you are awake, the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea can still cause blood pressure to stay high 10. Apneic moments or periods when you periodically stop breathing that occur while you are sleeping may cause your blood pressure level to remain elevated throughout the day. Moreover, severe obstructive sleep apnea has also been found to cause drug-resistant hypertension. A group of scholars in 2014 set out to prove their theory that when left untreated, severe obstructive sleep apnea may cause hypertension in patients with an elevated risk for high blood pressure – despite the management of hypertension through an intensive high blood pressure regimen 11. Their discoveries were published in 2014 in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. The findings proved that there is a link between untreated severe apnea and high blood pressure, even though patients were under medical treatment. It seems that nothing might help you until you get your sleep apnea under control. Treating this condition may also help treat hypertension. As your breathing gets better and your blood oxygen levels are optimum, your blood pressure can also stabilize 13. Further studies found that treatment of sleep apnea can cause significant improvements in patients suffering from high blood pressure 14, 15.
- Sleep apnea is a form of sleep disorder that results in frequent lapses in breathing.
- Scientists have found a link between sleep apnea and high blood pressure.
- Obstructive sleep apnea may activate the brain to pump more blood throughout the body, including the heart and brain.
- The impacts of obstructive sleep apnea may cause blood pressure to remain elevated during the day.
- Treating sleep apnea may help treat hypertension.
- Further studies have found that treatment of sleep apnea may cause significant improvements in patients suffering from high blood pressure.