Blood Pressure Treatment In Sleep Apnea Patients May Cut Heart Risk

Armen Hareyan's picture

Two different studies find that treating blood pressure in mild sleep apnea patients may cut heart risk.

Sleep apnea is a disorder when brain is unable to properly regulatethroat muscles. Obstructive apnea sufferers are having airway blockedfrom time to time, and this type is the most common type of thedisease. Central sleep apnea is the rare type of the disease when brainis totally failing to control breath. Sleep apnea patients are wakingup regularly for oxygen intake.


Astudy by Swedish researchers followed 132 stroke patients during adecade. Those with obstructive sleep apnea index greater than 15 were76% more likely to die earlier from cardiac events than those with noapnea. Those with index lower than 10 were also significantly morelikely to suffer from stroke. Those with central sleep apnea were alsoat high risk for stroke, but in these patients the disease depended onother factors such as 'age, gender, smoking, body mass index,hypertension, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, and cognitive ability'.

Another study by Spanish researchers examined 394 hypertensionpatients suffering from mild obstructive sleep apnea. Patients takingcontinuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine showed 2mmHg drop insystolic and diastolic blood pressure. They also showed significantsleep disorder improvement thanks to machine nighttime use for 5 ormore hours.

These two researches link three diseases: sleep apnea, bloodpressure, and heart disease. Blood pressure treatment with CPAP canimprove sleep apnea symptoms. And apnea improvement itself leads toreduced risk for stroke. However, scientists don't recommend everyonestart treating blood pressure, especially patients experiencing mildsleep apnea, because more research is needed to clarify the link anddefine a proper treatment.