Posts

Sleep Apnea and High Blood Pressure- A Dangerous Pair

Sleep Apnea and High Blood Pressure a Dangerous Pair

Many people think sleep apnea is as simple as loud snoring, but it’s much more than that. Sleep apnea affects many systems in the body and is associated with several serious conditions like high blood pressure.

High blood pressure puts a daily strain on the cardiovascular system which may lead to stroke, heart disease, and other serious conditions. Fortunately, managing high blood pressure with medication and lifestyle changes can reduce your risk for harmful health effects.

It’s important to understand the relationship between sleep apnea and high blood pressure because these two conditions affect one another, and treatment for sleep apnea can lower blood pressure in people who have both.

Sleep Apnea, like high blood pressure, isn’t normally something people usually detect on their own. If you have sleep apnea, you likely don’t know about it unless you’re keeping your bed partner up at night by snoring or that you are gasping in your sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles that support the soft tissues in your throat, such as your tongue and soft palate, temporarily relax. When these muscles relax, your airway is narrowed or closed, and breathing is momentarily cut off. Individuals with sleep apnea stop breathing for short periods of time when sleeping. Pauses in breathing can last just a few seconds to a few minutes and occur as little as 5 to as many as 30 times per hour.

Every time your oxygen level drops, this raises your blood pressure and causes an adrenaline surge. This puts increased stress on your heart because it must work harder to normalize your blood pressure.

 What Is the Relationship Between Sleep Apnea and High Blood Pressure?

 In healthy individuals, blood pressure naturally lowers by between 10 and 20%  at night, a phenomenon that is sometimes referred to as “blood pressure dipping“. People with severe OSA experience blood pressure dips less than 10%, which indicates a “non-dipping” blood pressure pattern.

People who have non-dipping blood pressure at night face an increased risk for cardiovascular issues. Additionally, many patients with OSA experience a sudden and pronounced elevation of their blood pressure when they wake up in the morning. This “morning surge” is another factor that may increase risk for cardiovascular disease.  OSA doesn’t only affect blood pressure at night. Studies show that daytime blood pressure levels also increase with sleep apnea severity.

Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders in the United States. Of people diagnosed with OSA, it is estimated that around half also have high blood pressure. The good news is that treatment for sleep apnea may aid in lowering blood pressure levels.

If you are suffering from high blood pressure it may benefit you to get checked for sleep apnea. Call one of our sleep medicine professionals today and get on the road to a healthier and happier you!

Breast Cancer and Sleep Apnea

Breast Cancer and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

In a recent study, the incidence of breast cancer among patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea was significantly higher than that of the control group. In particular, the incidence of breast cancer was higher among patients aged ≥65 years. The result suggests that OSA may be a risk factor for breast cancer in women.

Recent studies have shown that disturbed sleep and low blood oxygen levels during the night, which are common in obstructive sleep apnea, may play an important role in the biology of different types of cancers.

In people with the OSA, the airway closes completely or partially many times during sleep, reducing the levels of oxygen in the blood. Common symptoms are snoring, chocking or gasping for air, disrupted sleep and excessive daytime tiredness.

The study found that people who have more airway closures during sleep and whose blood oxygen saturation levels fall below 90%, are diagnosed with cancer more often than people without sleep apnea.

The researchers also found that cancer was more common among women than men.

The most common type of cancer among women was breast cancer, while prostate cancer was the most prevalent among men. While the study can’t prove that sleep disorders cause cancer, it does show that there’s an association between the two.

Women are under-diagnosed for sleep apnea at a rate of 6-to-1

So why are women so under diagnosed?

Some of the reason’s women aren’t diagnosed with sleep apnea may be:

  • Many women talk with their general practitioners about their sleep problems rather than a sleep specialist. Some these doctors have preconceived notions about what a typical sleep apnea patient looks like and may overlook the reported symptoms by women when they don’t fit the common portrait.
  • Women maybe be embarrassed and less likely to report loud, chronic snoring.
  • Women usually report different symptoms than men which may lead to a misdiagnosis.
  • Common symptoms of OSA seen in women-
  • Women are more likely to be prescribed prescription medications (such as anti-depressants) rather than be sent for a sleep study.
  • Men may be less likely to be observant to their bed-partner’s sleep disturbances than women are. Many men who seek treatment for OSA only do so because of concern by their bedpartner.

Getting a quality night’s sleep is more important than you may have realized. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends 7 or more hours of quality sleep a night. If you or your bedpartner are having any issues with sleeping or daytime sleepiness, make an appointment with our sleep medicine professions to get evaluated today. We are offering Televisits for new and returning patients. Give us a call and Say Hello to Sleep Again.

 

4 Important Facts About Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease in Women

4 Important Facts About Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease in Women

While Sleep Apnea is often thought of as a men’s health issue, here are some important facts about sleep apnea and heart disease in women that you need to know.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea is thought to be more prevalent than both asthma and adult diabetes, possibly affecting more than 18 million Americans.
  • Public health advocates think it may be as big a public health hazard as smoking.
  • The National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research estimated that sleep apnea is probably responsible for 38,000 cardiovascular deaths yearly.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of heart failure by 140%, the risk of stroke by 60%, and the risk of coronary heart disease by 30%.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain — and the rest of the body — may not get enough oxygen.

  1. Women’s Hearts are More Affected by Sleep Apnea Then Men’s.

A study found that women with moderate to severe sleep apnea had more than a 30 percent higher risk of heart problems than women without sleep apnea. The study found no significant link between sleep apnea and heart problems in men. The researchers also found that, compared to women without sleep apnea, women with the disorder had higher blood levels of troponin, a chemical signal of early heart damage.

  1. Menopause Increases the Risk of Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease in Women

Higher levels of estrogen and progesterone protect women prior to the onset of menopause. These hormones maintain the airway’s muscle tone and keep it from collapsing. However, as these levels decline during perimenopause and drop to their lowest levels as part of menopause, the incidence of sleep apnea climbs. This suggest that older women may be at greater risk for sleep apnea-related heart disease than men.

Data from the 2007 Sleep in America Poll of the National Sleep Foundation demonstrated evidence that 35 percent of women entering menopause could expect to face a higher risk for developing the most serious form of sleep-disordered breathing—obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)—by the post-menopause phase, compared to younger women.

  1. Women’s Sleep Apnea Symptoms can be Different from Men’s

Sleep apnea symptoms in women may or may not mimic those in men. Often, the classic symptoms that men with OSA present, do not show up in the same way in women. Women are more likely to have complaints of restless legs, fatigue, insomnia, morning headaches, or mood swings, rather than the loud snoring and choking that men experience.

  1. Women and Untreated Sleep Apnea are not a Healthy Combination.

Untreated OSA leads to a host of other problems that can plague women: gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), diabetes, depression, hypertension, and obesity

Sleep Apnea Complications


If you are struggling with any of the issues discussed in this article, contact Comprehensive Sleep Care Center for a consultation and say hello to sleep again.