07 Feb How Is Snoring Linked to High Blood Pressure?
Snoring is the bane of sleep partners everywhere. And sometimes, it can also lead to medical problems. If your partner snores loudly nearly every night, he or she might consider being screened for sleep apnea. This serious sleep disorder has been linked to an increased risk of additional health problems, including high blood pressure.
About High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is commonly referred to as “the silent killer.” This is because it does not typically cause symptoms, yet it can lead to an early death if left untreated. The new blood pressure guidelines state that all adults with blood pressure levels of 130/80 mm Hg or higher are considered to have high blood pressure.
Researchers have long known that sleep apnea can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular complications, including hypertension. Sleep apnea is characterized by the repetitive, cyclical cessation and restarting of breathing during sleep. Typically, patients aren’t even aware that they are waking up dozens of times each night. A growing body of evidence suggests that not only are sleep apnea patients at a higher risk of high blood pressure, but people who tend to snore—even if they don’t have sleep apnea—could also be predisposed to developing hypertension.
As troubling as these clinical studies are, there is good news for patients. Treating the sleep apnea or snoring appears to lower the risk of high blood pressure. It can especially help those who have “resistant high blood pressure,” which is hypertension that resists drug treatment efforts. Many sleep apnea patients are treated with CPAP therapy. However, those with mild to moderate sleep apnea, and those with simple snoring, can often benefit from oral appliances created by a dentist.