Sleep apnea immediately compromises blood pressure

November 17, 2016
UBC's Glen Foster, seen holding breathing apparatus in his lab, is researching the health impacts of sleep apnea. Credit: UBC

A single bout of sleep apnea impacts the human body's ability to regulate blood pressure.

In a recent study measuring the impact of simulated on humans, researchers at UBC's Okanagan campus found that just six hours of the fluctuating associated with sleep apnea can begin to deteriorate a person's circulatory system.

Sleep apnea is a condition where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. The condition can result in frequent periods of decreased oxygen levels in the body, known as intermittent hypoxia.

"While it is well established that sleep apnea is linked to high , our study shows this condition has an impact on the cardiovascular system that can begin within a single day," says Glen Foster, an assistant professor of health and exercise science. "After just six hours of fluctuating oxygen levels, similar to what happens with sleep apnea, the body's ability to regulate blood pressure is impaired.

"These changes occurred almost immediately in healthy young adults who were not experiencing the cumulative effects years of sleep apnea could bring about."

As part of his study, Foster examined the impact of on the cardiovascular system in 10 healthy young adults. Study participants wore a ventilating mask for six hours and oxygen levels were altered to mimic sleep apnea symptoms.

The study found that sleep apnea compromised the function of a person's baroreceptors—biological sensors that regulate blood pressure. It also found damaging blood flow patterns in the legs, which over time could impact vascular health.

"These findings suggest that interventions for people suffering sleep apnea should occur as soon as the condition is diagnosed," adds Foster.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 5.4 million Canadians are either diagnosed with or at high risk for sleep apnea.

Foster's research was recently published in the American Journal of Physiology.

Explore further: Study finds no link between sleep apnea and joint pain

Related Stories

Study finds no link between sleep apnea and joint pain

August 1, 2016
Consistent with previous reports, poor sleep quality was linked with joint pain in a recent Arthritis Care & Research study of the general population, but the study found no association between obstructive sleep apnea and ...

Gout risk high in patients with sleep apnea

October 19, 2015
Sleep apnea may increase the risk of developing gout, a new study shows.

Hard-to-treat hypertension may jeopardize sleep apnea patients' heart health

July 18, 2016
In a study of patients with hypertension, those with resistant hypertension—meaning that their blood pressure remained elevated despite concurrent use of three antihypertensive agents of different classes—had a higher ...

Sleep apnea diagnoses up among outpatients from 1993 to 2010

September 12, 2016
(HealthDay)—From 1993 to 2010 there was an increase in the diagnosis of sleep apnea in U.S. ambulatory practice visits, according to a study published online Sept. 1 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Sleep apnea treatment may reverse unhealthy brain changes

September 15, 2015
(HealthDay)—Sleep apnea treatment may reverse changes in brain stem activity associated with increased risk of heart disease, a new study suggests.

Sleep apnea may raise heart risks in people with pacemakers

May 5, 2016
(HealthDay)—People with heart pacemakers and sleep apnea are at much greater risk for a dangerous heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation, a new study suggests.

Recommended for you

Anti-nausea drug could help treat sleep apnea

June 6, 2017
An old pharmaceutical product may be a new treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, according to new research presented today by University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University scientists at the SLEEP 2017 annual ...

New disposable, wearable patch found to effectively detect sleep apnea

June 4, 2017
Results of a definitive clinical trial show that a new, disposable diagnostic patch effectively detects obstructive sleep apnea across all severity levels.

Childhood sleep apnoea is common but hard to diagnose

April 28, 2017
The cessation of breathing during sleep caused by enlarged tonsils is common in preschool-age children and can cause serious complications, but the methods normally used to diagnose the condition are subjective and unreliable. ...

Curbing sleep apnea might mean fewer night trips to bathroom

March 27, 2017
(HealthDay)—Millions of Americans battle bothersome nighttime conditions, such as sleep apnea or the need to get up frequently to urinate.

Untreated sleep apnea in children can harm brain cells tied to cognition and mood

March 17, 2017
A study comparing children between 7 and 11 years of age who have moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea to children the same age who slept normally, found significant reductions of gray matter - brain cells involved ...

Dietary supplement derived from tree bark shows promise for treating obstructive sleep apnea

February 24, 2017
Obstructive sleep apnea, which causes people to briefly stop breathing while asleep, affects an estimated 5 percent of the population, not including the many more who don't even realize they suffer from the disorder.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.