Sleep Apnea and High Blood Pressure
Have you been facing disrupted breathing during your sleep lately? If yes, then you must consider assessing your health. This is a sign that you may be experiencing sleep apnea. Superficially, this condition may not look serious, but it can be a causative factor for health conditions like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, stroke, and Hypertension.
This blog covers why sleep apnea & high blood pressure is a deadly duo and how it increases heart attack and stroke risks.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition in which you stop breathing for a while during sleep. You may start breathing again with a loud snort or gasp, or you may wake up to find that you’ve been breathing shallowly or not at all for several seconds. Sleep apnea can happen several times each hour, mainly as you fall asleep. Most people with sleep apnea don’t realize they have it because they don’t remember the events happening during their sleep.
Sleep Apnea is more common in men and older adults but can happen at any age. In India, 4 out of 10 hypertensive youth have sleep apnea. In people with sleep apnea, the muscles in their throat relax during sleep and partially block their airway. This causes them to stop breathing for short periods — sometimes tens of seconds at a time.
Sleep Apnea occurs when breathing is briefly stopped during sleep. When breathing stops, the brain senses the lack of oxygen and sends nerve impulses to the muscles that control breathing. These impulses cannot restart breathing until the person has had enough time without oxygen to fall into a deep sleep stage called rapid eye movement sleep.
Sleep apnea usually occurs in people who are overweight or obese, but it can also affect people who are thin or of average weight if they have other conditions such as enlarged tonsils or large adenoids.
What are the different types of sleep apnea?
The sleep apnea that you are experiencing may be different from the others. This is because there are two main types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
This is the most common form of sleep apnea. People with OSA have problems with their airways collapsing or becoming blocked during sleep. As they struggle to breathe, they make loud snoring or choking sounds. They also may stop breathing for short periods — 10 seconds or longer — which can cause blood oxygen levels to drop and lead to daytime fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Central sleep apnea (CSA)
Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain doesn’t signal your breathing muscles to move air into and out of your lungs properly. This type of apnea isn’t as common as OSA, but it may be more challenging to treat.
Knowing different types of sleep apnea can help you better understand your health condition and allow your doctor to prescribe an accurate treatment course.
Can sleep apnea cause high blood pressure?
The connection between sleep apnea and high BP is complicated. It’s not just that people with high BP are more likely to develop sleep apnea, but it can also increase your risk for high BP.
Sleep apnea may cause a temporary elevation of BP during sleep, which can also contribute to the development of high blood pressure. This may occur because short pauses awaken you in your breathing (also called apneas) or loud snoring. When you are awakened from a deep sleep, your heart rate increases, and your body releases hormones that increase blood pressure. In addition, being awakened repeatedly throughout the night can cause stress and disrupt the normal sleep cycle, leading to daytime sleepiness, irritability, and other symptoms that can add to those related to high BP.
Facts about sleep apnea & High BP you must know.
- Even when awake, sleep apnea can elevate your BP.
Sleep apnea is more than just a condition affecting your sleep quality. It can also affect your blood pressure (BP). This is because the disrupted breathing associated with sleep apnea causes drops in oxygen levels in the blood. These drops in oxygen can trigger the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline and noradrenaline, which increase the heart rate and constrict blood vessels. The result is an increase in systolic and diastolic BP levels, even during waking hours.
- Severe OSA is linked to drug-resistant high blood pressure
People with severe OSA may have drug-resistant hypertension if they don’t receive treatment. In such a case, medications designed to lower high blood pressure (antihypertensive drugs) aren’t as effective in acting on the problem.
- Treating sleep apnea can reduce high bp
Treating sleep apnea can reduce high bp. People treated for sleep apnea see a drop in the BP measurements from their daytime BP readings within a few months of starting treatment. Treating sleep apnea can also help lower the risk of stroke and heart attack associated with high BP.
Having your information at your disposal lets you clearly see the relationship between sleep apnea and hypertension. This prevents you from being under a misconception and takes progressive steps towards dealing with these health conditions.
Tackle the double danger with experts!
Unfortunately, sleep apnea and high BP are common health conditions in India. Hypertension is a silent killer and shows no signs. So, if you have been experiencing episodes of disrupted breathing while you are asleep, it is recommended to visit a doctor.
If you want more information about sleep apnea diagnosis or sleep apnea-induced High BP, visit BPinControl. You can also book a consultation with India’s leading high bp experts through the platform for Hypertension & sleep apnea treatment and boost your journey towards hypertension-free life.