Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is associated with hypertension (high blood pressure). This increases the risk of heart attack (myocardial infarction) and stroke (cerebrovascular event, CVE). It is unclear whether OSA directly causes high blood pressure or whether one of the risk factors for OSA, such as obesity, is the cause.
The high blood pressure combined with episodes of hypoxia (low blood oxygen levels) during apnoeic periods (stopping breathing) can cause irreversible damage to heart and brain tissue. Many of the risk factors for OSA are also independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease. This means it is very important to get risk factors under control in order to manage both the OSA and the complications.
Partners of sufferers often do well to wear ear plugs at night. A good pair of molded earplugs can help prevent insomnia and loss of sleep due to snoring and noise at night. More information is available on our molded ear plugs from our home page. It is clearly very important for sufferers of obstructive sleep apnoea to seek medical advice in order that risk factors can be avoided, treatment can be commenced and quality and duration of life improved. More information on our ear plugs is available here.
Next week; what is the treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea?