High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects millions of people, even children and teenagers and is often called a ’silent disease’ because you usually don’t know you have it; there may be no outward symptoms or signs, so monitoring your blood pressure is critical.
Nearly one-third of people who have high blood pressure are totally unaware. It rarely has noticeable symptoms, but if untreated it increases your risk of heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease, stroke, eye disease, erectile dysfunction or even dementia.
It has now been proved that Mandibular advancement devices (MADs) and continuous airway pressure (CPAP) are equally effective therapies for reducing blood pressure in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), and this was confirmed by a recent new analysis.
Daniel J. Bratton, PhD, of the Department of Pulmonology, University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, and colleagues found that there was a distinct parallel in how these two devices affected blood pressure and the results of their work appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association on December 1, 2015.
For those suffering from heavy snoring, or OSA, the disrupted sleep and the reduction of oxygen getting to the brain can contribute significantly to high blood pressure, but using either of the two common treatments for the condition can lower blood pressure effectively. A comparison of the two treatments — continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and mandibular advancement devices (MADs) — showed that each produces a modest but valuable reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure rates.
“CPAP and MADs not only reduce the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea such as sleepiness, but also lower blood pressure,” said Dr. Malcolm Kohler, chair of respiratory medicine at the University Hospital of Zurich.
OSA is the leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness, and can cause high blood pressure, which raises heart disease risk, the agency says.
Mandibular advancement devices work by pushing the jaw and tongue forward to keep the airway open during sleep. In continuous positive airway pressure, patients wear a facemask hooked up to a device that produces mild air pressure to keep the airway open.
Some patients find it difficult to adapt to CPAP, Kohler said. Some have problems wearing the facemask, others can’t get used to the noise of the compressor and some can’t abide either. “MADs are now considered as an alternative treatment to the more widely used CPAP, especially in patients who fail to adapt to CPAP treatment,” Kohler added. “MADs work better in mild to moderate sleep apnea.”
In the UK, over 6 million people are unaware they have high blood pressure, yet it affects more than 1 in 4 adults. Left unmanaged, it can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical problems, including coronary artery disease and high blood pressure. Some 2 million patients are known to have OSA, with millions of others going undiagnosed.
In the USA the figures are even higher with 75 million American adults having high blood pressure; that’s one in every three adults, but only 52% of them have it under control. The prevalence of high blood pressure is higher among non-Hispanic black adults compared with non-Hispanic white and Mexican-American adults and increases greatly with age.
High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for more than 360,000 Americans in 2014. That’s nearly 1,000 deaths each day and costs the nation $46 billion each year including the cost of health care services, medications, and missed days of work.
In Australia,10% of adults are estimated to have high blood pressure, but this may be an underestimate as this is based on self-reported data. An earlier study that measured the blood pressure of participants found that almost one in three men and one in four women over the age of 25 had high blood pressure or were on medication for hypertension.
The only way of knowing there is a problem is to have your blood pressure checked and all adults should have their blood pressure checked regularly and having this done is easy and could save your life and safeguard your health. Using an MAD, or mouthpiece, will do just the same so act now.