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Can Treating Sleep Apnea Lower Your Blood Pressure?

Sleep apnea is a problem for more than 20 million people in the U.S. This condition, in which a person stops breathing several times throughout the night, can result in chronic fatigue, adult-onset diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Excessive snoring – the kind that keeps your partner awake at night – is often one of the first signs of sleep apnea. However, other symptoms, such as extreme tiredness after a full night’s sleep and difficulty concentrating, as well as health complications like reduced liver function and high blood pressure, have all been attributed in part to sleep apnea.

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

Diagnosing sleep apnea is usually accomplished with a sleep study. Your doctor will determine from your symptoms whether you meet the criteria, and if so, order a sleep study. During the sleep study, your heart and brain activity will be monitored, your oxygen level will be monitored, and your sleep patterns will be observed to determine the diagnosis. People with sleep apnea stop breathing several times throughout the night – sometimes more than 30 times per hour.

Standard Treatments for Sleep Apnea

Depending on the type of sleep apnea you have – obstructive, central, or complex - the treatment can range from making changes in your lifestyle to lose weight to requiring a CPAP at night to help ensure that you keep breathing. Adjusting to using a CPAP can be very difficult, as it requires you to wear a breathing mask and be tethered to a machine. The machine itself must be maintained properly as well. Many patients with sleep apnea must try several kinds of CPAP mass before they find one that works for them and is comfortable enough to sleep with all night. Innovative treatments for sleep apnea using oral appliances can maintain the airway without the need for a machine.

Will Treating Sleep Apnea Lower My Blood Pressure?

Having both sleep apnea and high blood pressure is a dangerous combination. However, treating sleep apnea is an effective way to lower blood pressure. Some studies show that treating sleep apnea is as effective as medication in treating resistant high blood pressure.

If you have high blood pressure and sleep apnea, treating your sleep apnea may help reduce your blood pressure. For more information or to make an appointment, schedule a consultation.