The Positive Connection Between Resistant Hypertension and Sleep Apnea

Most people with difficult-to-control hypertension also have sleep apnea.  A recent study in the Journal of Hypertension suggests that proper treatment of the sleep disorder can also lower blood pressure.

“Resistant hypertension” is a type of high blood pressure that doesn’t respond well to standard treatment and may require therapy with more than one medication.  Researchers have found that this condition can be improved with CPAP therapy for sleep apnea.

 What is sleep apnea?

Patients with sleep apnea experience periodic breathing stoppages during sleep, which can significantly decrease the flow of oxygen to the brain.  CPAP is a therapy commonly prescribed for sufferers.  The patient wears a face mask that provides a constant source of air that keeps the airways open and reduces incidents of sleep-disordered breathing.

The study found that individuals with resistant hypertension who engaged in CPAP therapy experienced a greater reduction in blood pressure than subjects with hypertension that had not reached the resistant level.  The average reduction was 7.21 millimeters of mercury in systolic blood pressure and 4.99 millimeters in diastolic blood pressure.

A coauthor of the study noted that “small changes in blood pressure translate into big benefits in terms of protecting the heart and reducing stroke risk.”

You can read the abstract of the study, or read more about the study’s implications from

A CPAP alternative

This is definitely good news for those who suffer from resistant hypertension.  The news is made even better with the Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance available through Dr. Sam Cress in Sugar Land, Texas.  Designed as an alternative to cumbersome CPAP masks and tubing, the oral appliance is a single mouthpiece unit that patients wear during sleep.  It works to prevent breathing stoppages by keeping the tongue from falling back in the mouth.

The device also gradually causes a reconstruction of the wearer’s airway, which allows for free and natural breathing while sleeping.  Perhaps the greatest benefit: most patients are more apt to be consistent with their sleep apnea therapy when they don’t have the hassle of a head mask and a running motor all night long.

If you’ve been diagnosed with resistant hypertension, talk with Dr. Sam Cress about how the Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance could help improve sleep apnea along with your blood pressure.  If you suspect you have sleep apnea but have not been formally diagnosed, ask your physician for a sleep apnea test.

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Colony Dental of Sugar Land, Texas, serves patients in the greater Houston region, providing cosmetic dentistry, sleep apnea treatment, TMD treatment and other related services.  The practice is located at 4545 Sweetwater Blvd.  Call (281) 565-4100 for more information.