Can Sleep Apnea Affect Blood Pressure?
Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that can cause risks far beyond sleep problems. It can even have a negative effect on your cardiovascular system and make your chances of having high blood pressure more likely.
What is sleep apnea?
This sleep disorder is characterized by pauses in your breathing as you sleep. This can occur hundreds of time a night, causing a lower level of oxygen in your blood. It can have an impact on many aspects of your health, leaving you feeling exhausted during the day and causing headaches as well as many other symptoms.
In addition, this disorder is linked to many serious sleep apnea risks, including high blood pressure.
What is the link between sleep apnea and high blood pressure?
Each time your breathing pauses while you sleep, your blood pressure drops and your heart rate slows down. When you start breathing again, your heart rate increases rapidly, and with repeated stops and starts, your blood pressure rises. This elevation in blood pressure can also carry over to your waking hours.
Sleep apnea is also much more common in patients who have resistant hypertension – high blood pressure that hasn’t been adequately controlled despite trying a variety of treatments.
What should you do if you have sleep apnea and high blood pressure?
Seeking treatment for sleep apnea can help the quality of your sleep as well as your blood pressure. CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), a device that delivers a low, steady stream of air that helps keep your airway open, is the most common way to treat sleep apnea. It also helps treat resistant hypertension in patients who have sleep apnea.
The same is true of oral appliances, which are custom-made mouth guard-like devices worn while you sleep. Patients who find CPAP to be too uncomfortable often wear them, and these devices can also help improve sleep apnea and reduce high blood pressure related to this sleep disorder.
If you have high blood pressure or sleep apnea, make an appointment today with Dr. Levin at eos dental sleep. We can help you get the sleep apnea treatment you need to sleep well and improve your overall health and sleep apnea risks, including a reduction in high blood pressure.