Sleep Apnea and Hypertension – What are the risks?

by | Last updated Nov 5, 2021

We only recommend products in our blog that we recommend in our office. We may receive a small commission on some products but it does not change the price you pay (unless we offer you a money saving discount).

Hi, I’m Dave Hubbard, Nurse Practitioner with Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee. One of the questions I get asked most often is, “Can sleep apnea put me at risk for other diseases?” The answer is, Yes.

Let’s examine how sleep apnea and heart related issues like hypertension are related, and how you can treat your sleep apnea once and for all.

What Is Sleep Physiology?

Normal sleep physiology is a naturally designed process that maintains physical and mental health. There are different cycles of sleep physiology. 

Cycles Of Sleep Physiology:

  1. Light Sleep
  2. Deep Sleep
  3. REM Sleep

Why Most Americans Need Better Sleep

What Takes Place While You Sleep?

There are many bodily functions that take place while we sleep that help internal systems recover and prepare for the day ahead.

During the different sleep cycles, you’re body begins to slow down.

  • Your body’s metabolic rate decreases.
  • Your sympathetic nerve activity (also known as the fight or flight response) reduces.
  • Your blood pressure and heart rate decrease.

The Sleep Habits That May Help, or Hurt, Longevity

How Sleep Apnea Impacts Heart Health

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when breathing stops and starts while you sleep. 

Sleep Apnea Symptoms: 7 Serious Signs You Might Have Sleep Apnea

When sleep apnea occurs, oxygen levels throughout your body drop and this often triggers hyperventilation (or rapid breathing). This is followed by a sympathetically mediated vassal constriction or “squeezing of the blood vessels” to deliver more oxygen to your brain and vital organs.

This response to hypoxia (or low oxygen) can be harmful to your health overtime if not treated, thereby leading to hypertension. This may also lead to resistant hypertension, which is high blood pressure that does not respond to treatment with medication.

How Sleep Apnea Increases Your Risk of Heart Disease

How You Can Treat Sleep Apnea

Don’t wait to improve your health. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, it’s important to treat it now.

Contact us to schedule an appointment.

Subscribe to receive our top sleep tips.
Get better sleep tonight!