Hi, I’m Dave Hubbard, Nurse Practitioner with Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee. Normal sleep physiology is a designed process to maintain health. It does so by reducing the body’s metabolic rate, reducing the sympathetic nerve activity, also known as the fight or flight response, reducing blood pressure and heart rate. Obstructive sleep apnea triggers a response by the body to the hypoxia or low oxygen level in the body. This response promotes hyperventilation or rapid breathing to enhance oxygen delivery to the blood. This is followed by a sympathetically mediated vassal constriction or squeezing of the blood vessels.  To redistribute oxygenated blood to the vital organs. This response to hypoxia or low oxygen become pathological when the enhanced sympathetic nerve response is sustained over the years. As is the case with obstructive sleep apnea, thereby leading to hypertension. This may also lead to resistant hypertension; this is high blood pressure that does not respond to treatment with medication.

For more information, please visit Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee or call 615-893-4896.