People with sleep apnea and hard-to-control high blood pressure may see their blood pressure drop with appropriate CPAP treatment according to a recent study from Spain.
Sleep apnea has been linked to high blood pressure in past studies, and in the latest study from Polytechnic University Hospital in Valencia, Spain, participants who used CPAP for 12 weeks reduced their diastolic blood pressure and improved their overall nighttime blood pressure.
“The prevalence of sleep apnea in patients with resistant [high blood pressure] is very high,” said lead researcher Dr. Miguel-Angel Martinez-Garcia. “This [sleep apnea] treatment increases the probability of recovering the normal nocturnal blood pressure pattern.”
Patients with resistant high blood pressure should undergo a sleep study to rule out obstructive sleep apnea, Martinez-Garcia said, and “If the patient has sleep apnea, he should be treated with CPAP and undergo blood pressure monitoring.”
The study “Effect of CPAP on Blood Pressure in Patients With Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Resistant Hypertension“, published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, was partly funded by Philips-Respironics, maker of the CPAP system used in the study. Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a spokesman for the American Heart Association and professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, stated that most patients with hard-to-control high blood pressure also suffer from sleep apnea.
“Close to three out of four patients with resistant [high blood pressure] have been found to have obstructive sleep apnea, and this sleep apnea may contribute to the difficulty to control the blood pressure in these patients,” he said.
“Whether these improvements in blood pressure can be sustained in the long term and will translate to improved health outcomes will require additional studies.”