During an apnea event (pause in breathing) the oxygen levels in your blood drop significantly. When this happens your brain partially wakes from sleep to send signals to the nervous system to constrict the blood vessels (tighten up) in order to increase the flow of oxygen to your heart and brain.
When your blood pressure increases at night to keep oxygen flowing to your heart and brain, it causes high blood pressure during sleep. Most people's blood pressure drops ten to twenty percent during sleep, but many patients with sleep apnea show an increase in blood pressure of ten to twenty percent.
Unfortunately, the increased blood pressure experienced during sleep often begins to overlap into periods of wakefulness. Even though your blood pressure only needs to be increased at night when you require extra respiratory effort to get oxygen, many people with sleep apnea end up with increased blood pressure at all times.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, heart attack, and many other medical problems. sleep apnea is a major risk for high blood pressure.
A study by the National Sleep Foundation found that men with severe OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) were 58% more likely to develop new congestive heart failure than men without sleep apnea. They also found that men aged 40-70 with an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of 30 or higher were 68% more likely to develop coronary heart disease than those with lower AHI's.
From Our Friends at SleepHelp.Org
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
One of the more well-known sleep disorders is called sleep apnea. There are two main types of sleep apnea -- central sleep apnea (CSA) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) -- and this article will focus on OSA.
An apnea is a temporary pause in breathing, and in OSA, this can happen dozens of times during the night. This happens because of the restriction of airflow through the airway.
In this guide, we’ll introduce you to OSA. We’ll cover all the key information that you need to know: what it is, what causes it, its symptoms, its consequences, and how it is diagnosed and treated.
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