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2. Hypertension and OSA


High blood pressure (hypertension) can happen to anyone. In fact, 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure. But some people are more at risk for developing it than others. The groups listed below should be especially careful about monitoring and treating their blood pressure.

People with a higher risk of having high blood pressure include:

  • People with blood relatives who have high blood pressure, like a father, mother, or sibling

  • Men over the age of 55

  • Women over the age of 65

  • Post-menopausal women/

  • Some women who take birth control pills

  • African-Americans, especially women

  • People who are overweight

  • People who get little or no regular physical activity

  • People who smoke

  • People with high cholesterol

  • People with diabetes

  • People with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

There is increasing evidence that obstructive sleep apnea is an independent risk factor for arterial hypertension. Significant associations were found between Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and the prevalence of arterial hypertension, independent of age, body mass index, and gender. *

A blood pressure reading is shown as two numbers.  These numbers measure the pressure against the walls of your blood vessels. The two numbers are usually written as a fraction, such as 140/90 or 160/110.

The top number of your blood pressure reading measures the pressure against the walls of your blood vessels when your heart is pumping blood to your organs. Your doctor may refer to your top number as your systolic pressure. The bottom number of your blood pressure reading measures the pressure against the walls of your blood vessels when your heart is between beats and resting. This number is known as your diastolic pressure.

Medical guidelines state that a normal blood pressure for most adults is less than 120/80.

CPAP may be an important adjuvant treatment tool in hypertension in sleep apnea syndrome, especially in resistant hypertension.  There is a general agreement that CPAP treatment leads to the reversal of short term BP pressure elevations during sleep.  Recent reports suggest that hypertensive subjects with moderate to severe OSA benefit from CPAP treatment, with significant decreases in daytime systolic and diastolic                                                                                                                                                blood pressure.**

Listed below are the categories of blood pressure levels as determined by the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure.

Consult a physician your blood pressure is at or above 140/90.   For people with diabetes or chronic kidney disease, consult a physician for a blood pressure level of 130/80 or higher.***

Note: Blood pressure that is too low can be dangerous.

** Am J Hypertens. 2004 Dec;17(12 Pt 1):1081-7. Borgel J, Sanner BM, Keskin F, Bittlinsky A, Bartels NK, Buchner N, Huesing A, Rump LC, Mugge A. (2004),
**Hoffman M., Somers V.K., Accurso V., Bybee K. Minerva Med 2004;95:281-90
***National Institute of Health. The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure.