Bidirectional relationship of hypertension with obstructive sleep apnea. Academic Article uri icon


  • Hypertension (HTN) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are coexistent in millions of people, and both have been associated with heart disease, stroke, and premature death. OSA is an important risk factor for HTN. However, the relationship between OSA and HTN may be bidirectional, with high blood pressure (BP) contributing to an increased risk and severity of OSA. The aim of this review is to summarize the current literature supporting a bidirectional relationship of sleep apnea and HTN.The treatment of HTN to a lower BP target may improve sleep apnea by improving upper airway tone, by targeting hormone pathways (aldosterone, renin-angiotensin system) that may exacerbate OSA, and by reducing the nocturnal rostral fluid shifts through the use of a low-sodium diet, diuretics, and dialysis.Intensive BP and volume overload control may be a promising approach to treat OSA. Future studies examining the hormonal mechanisms and comparing the effect of different antihypertensive medications on OSA are needed.

publication date

  • November 2014