Sleep Apnea Devices Lower Blood Pressure
By Steven Reinberg
TUESDAY, Dec. 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) — For those suffering from sleep apnea, the disrupted sleep and reduction of oxygen getting to the brain can contribute to high blood pressure, but the two common treatments for the condition both lower blood pressure, Swiss researchers report.
A comparison of the treatments — continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and mandibular advancement devices (MADs) — showed that each produces a modest reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure rates, the researchers found.
“CPAP and MADs not only reduce symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea such as sleepiness, but also lower blood pressure,” said lead researcher Dr. Malcolm Kohler, chair of respiratory medicine at the University Hospital of Zurich.
“Both treatments have similar positive effects on blood pressure, but the treatment effect of CPAP seems to be larger in patients who have more hours of sleep,” he said.
According to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep apnea is a common and chronic condition in which breathing stops or becomes shallow during sleep. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes and can occur 30 or more times an hour.
Mandibular advancement devices work by pushing the jaw and tongue forward to keep the airway open during sleep. In continuous positive airway pressure, patients wear a face mask hooked up to a device that produces mild air pressure to keep the airway open.
Some patients find it difficult to adapt to CPAP, Kohler said. Some have problems wearing the face mask, others can’t get used to the noise of the compressor and some can’t abide either.
“MADs are to be considered as an alternative treatment to the more widely used CPAP, especially in patients who fail to adapt to CPAP treatment,” Kohler added.
The report was published Dec. 1 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
For the study, Kohler and colleagues looked at the ability of CPAP and MADs to lower blood pressure in 51 previously published studies that included a total of nearly 5,000 patients.