CPAP and blood pressure study

Author: Jodi Mohrmann, Managing editor of special projects, jmohrmann@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 28 2013 08:07:54 AM EST   Updated On: Dec 28 2013 12:00:00 AM EST

There may be a way for people with obstructive sleep apnea to lower their blood pressure without adding medications.  A new Spanish study finds using continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, can help to bring their blood pressure down.

"This is a very important finding, particularly for physicians who are taking care of patients with resistant hypertension to assess for obstructive sleep apnea in these patients and to treat for it," said Dr. Harneet Walia, who did not take part in the study but treats sleep apnea patients at Cleveland Clinic.

Researchers in Valencia, Spain studied the effects CPAP might have on people with obstructed sleep apnea, who also had high blood pressure, and were taking 3 or more medications to control it.

They received CPAP treatments for 12 weeks and results show a decrease in their 24-hour average blood pressure, their diastolic blood pressure, and an improvement in their nighttime blood pressure pattern, too.

Researchers say more studies are needed to determine the long-term effects, but continuous positive airway pressure may provide a way for people to lower their blood pressure without additional medications. Walia agrees.

"Patients with resistant hypertension should be screened for obstructive sleep apnea and if they do have obstructed sleep apnea they should be treated with the ideal therapy, which would be continuous positive airway pressure," said Walia.

Complete findings for this study are in the Journal of the American Medical Association.