OSA linked to hypertension

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Thursday, February 28, 2002

LEAWOOD, Kan. - In the last two years, seven major studies have shown that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an independent risk factor for hypertension and, generally, the more severe the OSA, the more prevalent and severe the hypertension, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Many studies, including several published recently, have shown that successful treatment of OSA is associated with a significant reduction in blood pressure levels, although two other studies did not report similar findings.

Hypertension is another major indicator of the presence of OSA because about one half of patients with hypertension have OSA, and about one half of all patients with OSA have hypertension, the academy reported.

If ambulatory blood pressure monitoring indicates that a patient is a "nondipper" (i.e., blood pressure during sleep fails to fall, or "dip," by at least 10 percent as it normally does when compared with the mean awake blood pressure level), then the chances that the patient has OSA are increased.

Some evidence suggests that OSA may also be an important contributor in the development of coronary heart disease, stroke, cardiac arrhythmia, and congestive heart failure, because about one half of all patients with coronary heart disease, stroke, and congestive heart failure have OSA. HME

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