Sleep apnea increases cardiovascular risk by four times in patients with hypertension

Sleep apnea

If you are one of those who snores at night and also gets tired, you are likely to suffer from sleep apnea and hypopnea syndrome (SAHS). Sleep apnea is characterized because the patient suffers alterations in breathing during sleep.

Sleep apnea

Know about sleep apnea:

Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by periods in which a person has one or more pauses in breathing or else has shallow breathing during sleep. In general, this disease is of little importance and, worse still, it is unknown that it increases the risks of cardiovascular diseases such as arterial hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular events, according to a specialist of the Spanish Society of Hypertension.

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Sleep apnea is a common disease among the general population. However, diagnosis is not always easy. Usually, it is usually diagnosed accidentally as a result of treating the hypertensive patient, says the specialist. It is estimated that every year each primary care physician diagnoses two new cases of hypertension, of all of them, those who snore are 40% likely to also suffer from sleep apnea. The cause-effect relationship between sleep apnea and hypertension is very high. In fact, SAHS is considered to be the leading cause of secondary hypertension. In addition, it is especially prevalent in obese people. “Both overall and abdominal obesity are very often associated with sleep apnea syndrome and with increased cardiovascular risk,” Says the specialist. It is estimated that 80% of these patients are also overweight. Thus, “the loss of those extra kilos would, in the first instance, end the episodes of apnea and, consequently, reduce the risk of cardiovascular events arising from it.” However, the figures are not very encouraging and experts estimate that only a small percentage of obese patients – around 10% – manage to reduce weight significantly and steadily.

Obesity + apnea + HTA = Cardiovascular risk

Clinical practice has a double reasoning to solve this equation. On the one hand, explains the specialist, “in obese patients hypertension is more severe. In addition, hypertensive people with a non-deeper profile experience a nocturnal fall in blood pressure and that means more cardiovascular risk. “On the other hand, he continues, “there is a greater activity of both the sympathetic nervous system and the renin angiotensin system, which has a negative effect on the heart.” These patients are included in the concept of metabolic Syndrome because they have central obesity, hypertension, increased triglycerides, decreased HDL, all of which have an increased risk of developing heart disease.

Therapeutic options

In addition to weight loss, patients can try to sleep on their back (in dorsal decubitus) as well as avoid ingesting alcohol and sedatives at bedtime. If these measures are still not effective and the cause of apnea is anatomical then the next step would be to correct those pathologies that determine the obstruction of the upper airway, such as corrections of the nasal septum among others.

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