Half of People With Hypertension Have Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is one of the most well-established risk factors for hypertension. Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder that causes pauses in breathing during sleep due to restriction of the airways. The most obvious symptom of sleep apnea is snoring, but the condition can lead to serious health issues. When you sleep, your blood pressure naturally decreases as your body rests. This drop in blood pressure is significantly less in people with obstructive sleep apnea. Even after waking, people with the condition experience higher than normal blood pressure. In fact, 30 to 40 percent of people with hypertension also have obstructive sleep apnea. One theory of why sleep apnea may increase blood pressure is that it overstimulates the part of our nervous system that regulates involuntary actions like breathing, heart rate, and opening of blood vessels.