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Sleep apnea induced arterial hypertension
Get to know the relationship between sleep apnea and hypertension


Ok, but then you ask me what the relationship between hypertension and sleep apnea is. To start on this topic, let’s discuss the Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS). Sleep apnea is a widespread disease little known by the population. It is characterized by upper airways obstruction during sleep, usually accompanied by a drop in blood oxygen saturation, followed by a transient arousal from sleep to breathe. Its main manifestations during sleep include snoring, pauses in breathing, fragmentation of sleep, which lead to daytime incapacitating problems such as excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, headache, mood swings, as well as to cognitive disturbances (difficulty concentrating and memorizing). If you have one of these symptoms, your physician can request tests that will monitor your sleep and help him or her diagnose your disorder.

To this end, one option is Sleep Apnea Digital Monitoring (SADM), the Biologix Sleep Test. It is a test you can conduct at home -simple, convenient, and effective, with no need to sleep at a sleep lab. Before going to sleep for the night, just place the Oxistar sensor, which is a high performance oximeter, on your finger and start the test using the Biologix App. Upon waking up, click on “end test” to get the result in a few seconds by e-mail.

This diagnosis can also be established by means of a more complex test called Polysomnography, which is not as comfortable, since patients are required to sleep for one night at a sleep lab. There, they are monitored using sensors that record the passage of air through nose and mouth, blood oxygenation, heart rate, brain activity, as well as chest and limb movements.

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The article Sleep apnea and systemic arterial hypertension, published by the Sociedade Brasileira de Cardiologia (Brazilian Heart Society) at one third of patients with Systemic Arterial Hypertension suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS). This is not only due to shared risk factors such as obesity, sedentary lifestyle and age, but also because Apnea contributes to hypertension.

A few research studies including participants with normal range blood pressure levels concluded that patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) experience repeated elevations in blood pressure associated with Apnea episodes and were often considered as non-dippers, i.e., subjects in whom the night blood pressure reduction is absent. This pattern is considered indicative of increased risk for cardiovascular disease. non-dippers, ou seja, que não apresentam queda na pressão entre os períodos de vigília e sono.  Esse padrão é considerado de risco aumentado para o surgimento de doença cardiovascular.

Sleep apnea can cause arterial hypertension. Oxygen drop, as well as an increase in carbonic gas and in intrathoracic negative pressure can affect arterial pressure regulation through hormonal and neurotransmitter mechanisms. There is evidence that patients with sleep apnea have increased adrenaline activity, decreased sensitivity in blood pressure receptors, increased vascular response, and changes in salt and water metabolism.

Systemic Arterial Hypertension is a chronic disease in which the arterial blood pressure is steadily high. Hypertension is a silent disease, but you want to watch out for one or more of these symptoms:

  • Headache;
  • Pain in the nape of the neck;
  • Blurry vision and dizziness.

However, patients quite often have high blood pressure in the absence of any symptoms.

In the long run, arterial hypertension is one of the main risk factors for a series of severe diseases such as coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular accident (stroke), heart attack, arterial aneurism, as well as kidney or heart failure.

The risk factors for Arterial Hypertension are:

  • High-salt diet;
  • Sedentary lifestyle;
  • Irregular sleep pattern;
  • Diabetes;
  • Family history (When one of the parents has hypertension, the likelihood of his/her children inheriting the condition is 25%, but it is 60% when both parents have it).

Well, now that we are aware of the risk factors for arterial hypertension, let’s take a step further and prevent it, and a healthy lifestyle is very helpful to this end. Adopting a healthy, low-salt diet, exercising regularly, and reducing stress can help lower blood pressure.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this blog aims at assisting you in your education and is not intended to be construed in any manner as medical advice. Only physicians and dentists can diagnose diseases and prescribe treatments and medication. Thank you for visiting our website.

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