Hypertension and OSA commonly go hand-in-hand with one another. Hypertension – high blood pressure – develops over many years and can worsen if you do not get enough sleep. OSA can keep you from getting enough rest to help keep your blood pressure down to healthy levels.
More severe cases of OSA have been linked to coronary heart disease, and in a few instances, heart failure. Coronary heart disease occurs when the coronary arteries begin to narrow, which restricts the amount of blood that reaches the heart. OSA can keep you from being healthy in your day-to-day life by keeping you from getting enough sleep to feel energized, which leads to exercising less and eating unhealthy foods more. These issues can compound on one another until heart failure occurs.
How can you tell if you’re affected by OSA? A few of the symptoms of OSA are:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Loud snoring
- Observed episodes of breathing cessation during sleep
- Morning headache
- High blood pressure
The current universal treatment for OSA is the continuous positive airway pressure machine, more commonly referred to as CPAP. The CPAP eliminates apnea and the hemodynamic – change in flow of blood to organs and tissue – changes during sleep. Long-term CPAP treatment positively affects blood flow throughout the body and daytime blood pressure levels. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, treatment for OSA has resulted in an improvement in quality of life with 54 percent seeing improved respiratory function, 49 percent report improved mental health, 41 percent of patients seeing an improvement in blood pressure and 31 percent seeing improved HbA1c – average blood glucose – levels.
Many people view OSA as a sleeping disorder than can keep you or your loved ones awake at night. However, OSA is much more than that, and the results can be much more damaging.
About the author
Jason Maxfield, MD, is a board-certified sleep medicine specialist and an American Academy of Sleep Medicine diplomate. Dr. Maxfield has worked at Freeman for four years and is the Medical Director of Freeman Sleep Center. To learn more about sleep disorders, visit freemanhealth.com/sleepmedicine or call 417.347.8688 to make an appointment.
 Mehra, Reena. “Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Disease in Adults.” UpToDate, 19 Dec. 2017, uptodate.com/contents/obstructive-sleep-apnea-and-cardiovascular-disease-in-adults.
 Lattimore, Dee L. “Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Disease.” Egyptian Journal of Medical Human Genetics, Elsevier, 3 May 2003, sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109703001840.