The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) today published the results of the largest study ever conducted designed to assess the impact of sleep apnea, a disorder estimated to affect up to 20 million Americans, on high blood pressure.
Gathering data from 6,132 men and women age 40 and older, the study found that people with moderate to severe sleep apnea—a disorder hallmarked by snoring and pauses in breathing during sleep—are more than twice as likely to have high blood pressure as those without apnea.
According to Dr. Claude Lenfant, director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the results are especially significant because high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease—the nation’s leading cause of death.
The authors of the study also cited the known benefits of treatment for sleep apnea in reducing blood pressure.
“The hypothesis of a causal association between sleep apnea and hypertension is supported by evidence from intervention trials, showing that successful treatment of sleep apnea by means other than weight loss (for example, continuous positive airway pressure—Nasal CPAP) is accompanied by significant decreases on both daytime and nighttime blood pressure.
To read a full transcript of this article, please visit: JAMA.
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