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Am Fam Physician. 2002 Jan 15;65(2):229-36.

Treating obstructive sleep apnea improves essential hypertension and quality of life.

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  • 1Department of Nephrology, Tel Aviv Medical Center, Israel. donald@netvision.net.il

Abstract

About one half of patients who have essential hypertension have obstructive sleep apnea, and about one half of patients who have obstructive sleep apnea have essential hypertension. A growing body of evidence suggests that obstructive sleep apnea is a major contributing factor in the development of essential hypertension. Despite many patients with obstructive sleep apnea having clear symptoms of the disorder, an estimated 80 to 90 percent of cases are undiagnosed. When physicians routinely seek the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea by asking patients (especially those with hypertension) three basic sleep-related questions about snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness and reports of witnessed apneic events, the number of cases diagnosed and treated increases by about eightfold. Eliminating snoring and occurrences of apneic-hypopneic episodes will dramatically improve patients' quality of sleep and eliminate excessive daytime sleepiness, which has a detrimental effect on general functioning. Increased alertness will reduce the likelihood that patients will be involved in motor vehicle crashes. In most studies in which blood pressure was measured following treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, daytime and nighttime blood pressure levels were found to decrease significantly. This decrease in blood pressure may also reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular complications. The key to the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea is physician knowledge about the disorder. The dramatic improvement in quality of life that occurs when patients are successfully treated for obstructive sleep apnea makes detecting and treating this disorder imperative.

PMID:
11820487
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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