Posted on Monday, August 15th, 2022 at 3:43 pm
Sleep Apnea or Hypertension?
Hypertension (or high blood pressure) is a common condition. It occurs when the force of the blood against the artery walls is significant enough to eventually cause problems like heart disease.
Many people with dangerously high blood pressure show no symptoms or signs. Some of those suffering from hypertension experience shortness of breath, nosebleeds, or headaches, but it is important to note that these symptoms may not be present until their level of hypertension has become life-threatening. That’s why it is crucial to have your blood pressure level checked regularly.
Sleep apnea is also a common condition. It causes abnormal breathing while sleeping and can affect anyone at any age, although men suffer from it two to three times more often than women. Middle-aged to older people also have an increased risk of developing sleep apnea.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Often, sleep apnea is not recognized by the affected person. Sometimes a bed partner may notice the symptoms of sleep apnea, which prompts a visit to the doctor. Ask your partner if they have noticed any of these signs of sleep apnea while you sleep:
- Pauses in breath during sleep
- Loud snoring
- Gasping or choking during sleep
During the day, you may experience excessive drowsiness, irritability, trouble focusing, morning headaches, or dry mouth. If you have one or more of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean you have sleep apnea. Only a qualified doctor can make that diagnosis.
Types of Sleep Apnea
The three types of sleep apnea are:
- Mixed Sleep Apnea
- Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
OSA is the most common of the three types. If it is left untreated, OSA can lead to health issues like stroke, diabetes, heart disease, atrial fibrillation, and, yes, hypertension.
When OSA causes you to periodically stop breathing, stress hormones are released into your system that may lead to high blood pressure. The stress hormones are released because your body senses that your blood oxygenation has decreased.
Treating Sleep Apnea May Lower Your Blood Pressure
If your blood oxygen levels stabilize when you get treatment for your sleep apnea, your blood pressure may also improve. Some people are even able to reduce their blood pressure medications after getting their sleep apnea under control. Always consult with your doctor before adjusting any medications.
Other Causes of Hypertension
Although untreated sleep apnea can cause hypertension, it is important to consider other risk factors. These may include:
- Being overweight
- Too much salt in the diet
- Lack of physical activity
- Alcohol consumption (more than 1 or 2 drinks per day)
- Older age
If you have hypertension, it is important to have a doctor make an evaluation as to its cause. They can also determine whether sleep apnea is a contributing factor.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, contact Silent Night Therapy to schedule a consultation. We offer the alternative, non-invasive solution of oral appliance therapy. By preventing obstructions in your airway, these oral appliances are as effective as any CPAP machine. Call us today at 631-983-2463 for an appointment.