Whilst we know that Severe OSA is associated with cardiovascular risk, a significant ‘grey area’ exists. This grey area is where the evidence for cardiovascular risk is less obvious… there is indeed a link between blood pressure and some types of OSA.
OSA is usually worse in REM : it’s a well known phenomenon. REM sleep is associated with more hypotonia (less muscle tone) and your tongue base will be more prone to collapsing… and that will lead to worsening oxygen desaturations (drop in oxygen levels).
When OSA occurs entirely in REM, does it lead to worse health outcomes?
Mokhlesi et al (1) looked at the association between OSA during REM Sleep and Hypertension (high blood pressure). Sleep Data from the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort was analysed, in conjunction with ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.
Those with higher REM-AHI (worse OSA in REM) were more likely to develop hypertension.
OSA outside of REM was not a significant predictor of hypertension.
• Take-home message : REM-dependent OSA is associated with high blood pressure issues down the track.
If you have high blood pressure, we’d recommend an in-hospital sleep study. Ring us for an appointment now.
1. Mokhlesi et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2014.