So you’re a little groggy when you wake up in the morning from watching a little too much late night TV. No big deal, right? After all, you just grab your coffee or energy drink and you’re good to go.
Not so fast.
If you are one of the millions of Americans with undiagnosed sleep apnea, your lack of sleep could have far more serious effects on your health than just “feeling tired.”
In this article, we’re going to focus on the relationship between undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea and high blood pressure (hypertension). If you know you aren’t sleeping well or you frequently wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air, then sleep apnea could be leading to (or have already led to) high blood pressure.
The important role sleep plays in keeping you healthy
Science is constantly pushing forward to help us further understand the impacts sleep can have on our overall health and well being. In years past, sleep was just thought of as a passive process— kind of like “charging a battery” if you will.
While adequate sleep is vital to helping us perform better, it’s not just about performance; it also helps to keep your body healthy. Sleep helps to repair cells and assists in essential biological processes that can only occur during the various phases of a full night’s sleep.
The link between OSA and high blood pressure
To understand the relationship between OSA and high blood pressure, you first need to understand how blood pressure changes during sleep.
For a normal individual, blood pressure drops anywhere from 10-20% during sleep. However, in some individuals, blood pressure actually remains constant during sleep or even shows an increase.
The individuals, called “non-dippers” or “reverse dippers,” are actually at a higher risk of stroke than individuals who experience the normal drop in blood pressure during sleep.
It’s interesting to note that individuals diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea are much more likely to fall into these so-called “non-dippers” or “reverse dippers” categories.
While the correlation between sleep apnea and high blood pressure is not fully understood, several studies have suggested that a major link between the two could indeed exist.
The bottom line is that obstructive sleep apnea and high blood pressure may go hand in hand, so if you have been diagnosed with either of these conditions, it’s a good idea to also get checked out for the other.
For blood pressure issues, please see your general practitioner; and for sleep apnea testing and diagnosis you can give us a call or contact us here.
To learn more about the at-home sleep apnea tests we provide to patients in West Babylon, Patchogue and all around the South Shore of Long Island click here.
Obstructive sleep apnea treatment to prevent high blood pressure
According to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, approximately 25 million Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. That’s roughly 8% of the entire population of the United States!
By getting a diagnosis and treatment plan, you’ll be able to treat your sleep apnea effectively without the use of a bulky CPAP machine.
In fact, one of the reasons many patients don’t seek treatment for sleep apnea (or do not comply with their current treatment protocol) is because they believe that CPAP is the only alternative. In reality, the oral sleep apnea appliances provided by our dental team are preferred over CPAP for many patients!
What should you do now?
First off, if you are experiencing any blood pressure issues, we encourage you to contact your general practitioner or family physician immediately.
If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, then we invite you to contact us today in order to schedule your sleep apnea consultation with Dr. Clifford Brown. We look forward to helping you diagnose and treat your sleep apnea quickly and effectively. Give our office a call today!