Sleep Apnea Could Double the Risk of Drug-Resistant Hypertension in African-Americans

Sleep Apnea Could Double the Risk of Drug-Resistant Hypertension in African-Americans

Sleep Apnea Could Double the Risk of Drug-Resistant Hypertension in African-AmericansWhen a patient is diagnosed with hypertension, commonly referred to as high blood pressure, their treatment typically consists of self-care and medications to help lower their blood pressure. If blood pressure isn’t reduced to normal range after taking medication for the condition, doctors must figure out why.

For African-American adults, the answer may lie in an undiagnosed case of sleep apnea.

Findings from a 2018 Study

A study led by Harvard University researchers found that people with moderate or severe sleep apnea are twice as likely to have drug-resistant hypertension. The link between sleep apnea and high blood pressure isn’t new, but this research is different from studies in the past.

Instead of using self-reported data, this Harvard-led study detected the presence of sleep apnea via sleep studies. Of the 664 African-American participants in this study, more than a quarter had moderate or severe sleep apnea. A shocking 94 percent of the participants with sleep apnea were not previously diagnosed or treated for the disorder. The association between high blood pressure and sleep apnea was most prevalent among those with hard-to-treat hypertension.

All the participants were adults with hypertension who were also participants in the Jackson Heart Study, the largest investigation of cardiovascular disease in African Americans. Nearly half of the study’s participants had uncontrolled high blood pressure, and approximately 14 percent had high blood pressure that wouldn’t respond to medications.

Future Research

While this study has provided great insight, more research is needed to establish the cause-and-effect relationship between sleep apnea and drug-resistant hypertension. If untreated sleep apnea is the reason for drug-resistant hypertension, that means both diseases could potentially be improved with routine treatment for sleep apnea, such as the use of a CPAP machine.

For now, medical professionals can help their patients by looking at undiagnosed sleep apnea as a possible cause for drug-resistant hypertension.

Compared to white adults, black adults have a 90 percent higher chance of struggling with uncontrolled high blood pressure. There is no known cause for this, but researchers hope this study will inspire health care professionals to approach treatment and research differently in the future.


Related Articles:

Sleep Apnea Symptoms and Treatment

Sleep Study: A Simple Exam Can Lead to a Better Night’s Sleep

How to Clean your CPAP Machine

Daily Tips to Improve Lung Function for Pulmonary Fibrosis Patients

Daily Tips to Improve Lung Function for Pulmonary Fibrosis PatientsPulmonary fibrosis is a lung disease that causes scar tissue deep inside a person’s lungs. Many cases are idiopathic, meaning there is no known cause. Because the disease is progressive, symptoms worsen overtime. There is currently no cure, so starting treatment early is the best way to ensure a better quality of life.

Medical treatments for pulmonary fibrosis sometimes include corticosteroids, oxygen, antifibrotic drugs, proton pump inhibitors and immune suppressants. Some patients also opt to try experimental treatments.

Tips to Improve Daily Lung Function

In addition to medication and doctor-recommended treatments, there are certain lifestyle changes that can help improve daily lung function for people living with pulmonary fibrosis.

  1. Monitor Oxygen Levels Regularly

An at-home pulse oximeter can be used to measure your oxygen levels throughout the day. Typically, the goal is for oxygen saturation to be above 90 percent. A lack of oxygen can cause mild problems, such as headaches and shortness of breath. In severe cases, heart and brain function may suffer.

  1. Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehabilitation is often a staple in the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis. This treatment involves a variety of programs that aim to reduce shortness of breath while also improving daily life.

  1. Keep Vaccinations Up to Date

Pulmonary fibrosis patients should be vaccinated against diseases that could cause infection and further lung damage, such as the flu, pneumonia and whooping cough. Find out what vaccines are recommended for you on the Center for Disease Control’s Adult Vaccine Assessment Tool.

  1. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being underweight or overweight can impact your ability to breathe. A registered dietitian can help determine your dietary needs so you can maintain a healthy weight.

  1. Quit Smoking

Smoking cigarettes causes lung damage. While the habit is not healthy for anyone, it is especially harmful for patients with pulmonary fibrosis. If you smoke, quitting now can prevent further damage. is a great free resource to get you on the path to quitting and keep you from picking the habit back up.

  1. Be Aware of Your Environment

People with pulmonary fibrosis may notice that certain environments trigger a decline in respiratory function. For example, dust, pet dander, the smell of chemicals at a hair salon, and gasoline fumes can irritate your lungs. Wearing a face mask can help in situations where triggers are unavoidable.

  1. Consider Joining a Support Group

It’s very important to have an emotional support system when you’re living with pulmonary fibrosis. Online communities and in-person support groups are great ways to connect with others who are struggling with your condition. The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation has a wonderful resource dedicated to finding local and online support groups.

Related Articles:

What is a PFT (Pulmonary Function Test)?

Diabetics at a Higher Risk for Lung Disease

What is Oxygen Therapy?

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