Sleep Apnoea Articles

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) and Blood Pressure

Essentially, most medical experts are of the opinion that there is a connection between blood pressure and sleep apnoea. The U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (a division of the National Institutes of Health) states in it’s definition of sleep apnoea that left untreated it can “increase the risk of high blood pressure,” whist also presenting a greater risk for obesity, stroke and heart attack.1

The Mayo Clinic states high blood pressure as a possible complication of sleep apnoea. They say that “sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during sleep apnoea increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system.” They also warn that “if you have obstructive sleep apnoea, your risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) is greater than if you don’t,” they also go onto link the severity of the sleep apnoea with that of the blood pressure.2

Our own NHS in the UK gives similar warnings about the link between the 2. saying on their web site that “Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is associated with high blood pressure,” and that it’s “uncertain whether people develop hypertension as a direct response to OSA, or whether it is the result of an underlying cause of OSA, such as obesity.”3

OSA and Blood Pressure

Sleep apnoea and blood pressure: The research

The suggestion that high blood pressure and sleep apnoea are regularly found together are supported by a wide variety of medical studies. A study published in American Family Physician in 2002 is typical: “About one half of patients who have essential hypertension (hypertension without a known cause) have obstructive sleep apnoea, and about one half of patients who have obstructive sleep apnoea have essential hypertension.”4

A 2009 study published in the journal Hypertension Research also found that OSA “increases both daytime and night-time ambulatory blood pressures.” That study concluded that understanding the characteristics of a patient’s sleep apnoea “is essentially important” to achieve control over high blood pressure.5

So, what to do with this information? Chances are you may well be aware of the connection, but if not and if you suffer from OSA then be sure to discuss any concerns with your GP.

Do you have experience with sleep apnoea and blood pressure? Leave a comment and share your thoughts with the community.


Please note: Our comment section is a forum for patients to share experiences and ideas with one another. Please discuss any medical advice with your doctor or equipment provider. If you have a specific product question, please contact the ResMed UK team:


  1. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). National Institutes of Health (NIH). “What Is Sleep Apnoea?” Retrieved from (accessed April 2, 2014).
  2. The Mayo Clinic. “Complications of sleep apnoea.” July 24, 2012. Retrieved from (accessed April 2, 2014).
  3. National Health Service (UK). “Complications of sleep apnoea.” Retrieved from (accessed April 2, 2014).
  4. Silverberg DS, Iaina A, Oksenberg A. “Treating obstructive sleep apnoea improves essential hypertension and quality of life.” Am Fam Physician. 2002 Jan 15;65(2):229-36. Retrieved from (accessed April 2, 2014).
  5. Kario K. “Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome and hypertension: ambulatory blood pressure.” Hypertens Res. 2009 Jun;32(6):428-32. doi: 10.1038/hr.2009.56. Retrieved from (accessed April 2, 2014).


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2 thoughts on “Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) and Blood Pressure

  1. I was diagnosed in 1987 with very high blood pressure with absolutely no symptoms at all. My snoring increased and in 1994 diagnosed with OSA. Machines have advanced over the years as has treatment and understanding of the problem. Using different machines over the years and doing many experiments on myself I’ve found it’s not a “chicken and egg” discussion for me anyway anymore. Obesity is a major factor yet many obese people do not have OSA. I’ve spent years researching all over the world and the latest findings seem to come down to “jaw realignment” and what I call sloppy tissue near the ears in the neck. One Specialist in Switzerland and another in Australia now cure OSA by major realignment but it’s a big procedure in three parts costing a lot of money. My friends who stayed with me before emigrating last year, her husband put on quite a bit of weight and we talked about Apnoea because of his tiredness and breathing difficulty.
    Three months ago living now in Sydney he experienced a strong pulse in his ears which got so bad he was rushed to hospital with blood pressure so high at 40 years old was lucky to make it.
    The reason I’m telling this story is that not only was he diagnosed with incredibly high BP but kidney stones too. The latter is interesting as over the years my kidneys are not fully functioning either. Richard has decided to spend a huge amount of money as he can’t stand his machine and at 40 years old and newly married I can understand his stress. No one mentions “stress” but there to me lies another link. How people handle stress. My BP is directly linked in that department and again experimenting with food I find there is an alarming link between the two also, particularly certain very common additives. Richards BP with medication has dropped to normal and now being reduced. Since I came out of hospital last April after a hip replacement I made it my mission to lose weight and with it went my high BP. Never taken meds’ since. Chocolate, especially milk was notorious for racking up my BP in the past and a recent relapse made it abundantly clear the culprit. Still leaving it alone is a small price to pay particularly the kidneys who obviously can’t cope either. Not everyone is the same but food has a far far bigger part with all the additives to play than doctors appear to realise. Apologies for taking up so much space but I’m on a mission to discover the “root” cause of this frustrating malady.
    P.S. I alerted Richard to your portable machine which to me seems a lot more sensible than massive procedures which will I’m sure cause major discomfort in more ways than one!!

  2. Hi Rosemary, and thank you for sharing your story with us. It sounds as though you have been on quite a journey, but hopefully things are settling down now. CPAP therapy is a non-invasive therapy for patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), there are of course others both invasive and non-invasive and we would always encourage patients to research their options and seek professional advice. It is interesting that you’ve highlighted a link between BP and food types and I’m sure there is a huge amount more to learn and understand about the effect of diet on the body and how different things affect people differently. That is why it is all the more important and very much appreciated that people like yourself share their experiences with our community. We wish you (and Richard) luck with your continued therapy and research. Of course, if you want to speak to one of our specialist clinicians then you can do so by calling 0800 917 7071.

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