Sleep Apnea and Blood Pressure
Having a healthy blood pressure is very important to your overall health. Research shows the higher your blood pressure is, the higher your risk of having other health issues are. This includes issues with your heart and brain. People who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are at much higher risk of increased blood pressure. At All Smiles Sleep Solutions, we can diagnose the reason you have sleep apnea and then find ways to treat it. We can help you breathe better while you sleep, just one step toward helping you maintain a healthy blood pressure.
A normal reaction in your body is a drop in blood pressure while you sleep. On average, people experience about a 20% drop. This is due to the relaxed, deep REM sleep that they are in. This drop in blood pressure is good for the body and gives the organs a calming rest. People with obstructive sleep apnea miss out on this relaxation, causing stress to multiple areas of the body. Their body doesn’t experience this drop in blood pressure like it should.
When a person with OSA falls asleep, something about their upper airway or windpipe is either partially or fully cut off. This can be due to multiple reasons. If the body is unable to get the oxygen it needs, the brain then sends out a signal using adrenaline, sometimes referred to as a stress hormone, to wake the person just enough to gasp for air. The person is often completely unaware that this is happening, but it disturbs their REM sleep and gives their body a little adrenaline jolt, or increase in blood pressure. This may not be so terrible if it happened rarely, but for many, this pattern of insufficient oxygen and jolt of adrenaline occurs many, if not hundreds of times a night, possibly for years.
The results of OSA on the brain, and the heart, can be dangerous. Some of the immediate indicators will be symptoms of lack of sleep. The person may wake feeling unrested, irritated, or even wake with a migraine. The long term indicators are high blood pressure from thickened arteries, heart problems, and increased risk of stroke.
How can I help my blood pressure be improved?
One step toward improving your blood pressure is helping you get a better night's rest. We want to help improve your blood pressure through discovering what is causing the blockage and OSA. There is not one answer, or one treatment.
Obstructive sleep apnea can be due to multiple reasons, including:
We like to look for these possibilities and sleuth out what is causing the problem before discussing treatment. We offer both surgical and non-surgical options. Many patients are surprised that simply sleeping with a retainer-like device can make all the difference.