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Sleep Apnea and Hypertension

We hear about the links between sleep apnea and other health conditions, such as heart disease, obesity and depression. Why is this so important? The fact is, the lower the concentration of oxygen in the blood, the less your body can refresh, regenerate and heal, especially when sleeping. Think about it, you spend a third of your life sleeping. If your cells and organs are not getting the oxygen they need for a third of your life, you are bound to suffer, right?

Consider hypertension. This is a condition where the force of your blood against the walls of the arteries is high enough that it can eventually cause other health issues. According to the Mayo Clinic, the more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. What does this have to do with sleep apnea? Many of us living with sleep apnea are also living with other health conditions, including hypertension.

As a matter of fact, there was a study done in Spain where the researchers found that participants with both sleep apnea and hypertension, in this case resistant hypertension, who received CPAP therapy for a 12 week period had decreased blood pressure levels compared with a group who were not treated. Resistant high blood pressure refers to three or more medications being necessary to treat it.

In the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 194 people across 24 teaching hospitals participated. Half were treated with CPAP and half were not. As well, those who were not treated took their typical blood pressure medication as usual. The findings were that participants who received CPAP treatment benefitted from lower blood pressure overall.

If there is something stopping you from looking into testing for sleep apnea, please consider if you have high blood pressure, or any of the other associated health problems with it. The fact is, if you treat sleep apnea, you are also treating the conditions that come with it. You will do yourself and your loved ones a favor by taking care of yourself.

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