‘Do you feel well rested?’ is one of the most important questions we can ask during the sleep apnea screening process. Daytime sleepiness is a major red flag that sleep apnea may exist. Another red flag is high blood pressure. In the patient chart, you would have noted any serious medical conditions, including hypertension/high blood pressure.
There are two main reasons why high blood pressure is a symptom of sleep apnea.
1. There is a sympathetic (emergency) response in the body every time an apnea or hypopnea occurs. Heart rate and blood pressure increases. OSA patients have hundreds of events per night, thus the body remains in a constant state of elevated blood pressure.
2. Because the body is not getting sufficient oxygen, it is not converting enough into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, without nitric oxide the blood vessels narrow. The endothelial lining of the arteries breaks down, making them more susceptible to plaque and fatty tissues building up.
Narrow arteries = risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.
Sleep apnea increases hypertension risk by 45%.
Patients with a history of hypertension/high blood pressure should be screened for possible sleep breathing disorders. HST America can help during the entire sleep process. It begins by taking our online live Success in Sleep seminar, where we discuss in detail the basics of sleep apnea including prevalence, signs and symptoms, screening techniques, treatment options, clinical aspects, and medical billing systems.
Learn more about sleep apnea comorbidities and managing your sleep apnea patients by attending an online CE seminar with HST America and Dr. Marty Lipsey, from Medical Billing for Dentists. See our upcoming sleep seminar dates below:
HST America is dedicated to helping dentists implement a sleep program through our innovative ‘zero-dollar sleep protocol’ and concierge home sleep testing services. To learn more about our Success in Sleep seminars, view our video below.