Obstructive sleep apnea and hypertension: from correlative to causative relationship.

Sleep Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine,Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.
Journal of Clinical Hypertension (Impact Factor: 2.96). 09/2001; 3(5):296-301. DOI: 10.1111/j.1524-6175.2001.00491.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Sleep-disordered breathing, manifested by repetitive episodes of partial or complete cessation of breathing during sleep associated with brief arousal and autonomic activation, is estimated to affect as many as 4% of adult men and 2% of adult women. Studies conducted during the 1980s revealed a strong association between sleep-disordered breathing and hypertension. The results of these early studies, which relied on relatively small samples of patients, have been confirmed in recent years by large-scale epidemiologic studies that are controlled for all possible confounding factors. This paper reviews the evidence suggesting a causative relationship between hypertension and disordered breathing in sleep. The authors discuss the possible underlying mechanisms of the two entities and address the clinical implications of this relationship. They conclude by recommending a proactive approach to the diagnosis of breathing disorders in sleep, in order to prevent the cardiovascular sequelae of this syndrome.

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