Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) and hypertension: pathogenic mechanisms and possible therapeutic approaches

Ups J Med Sci. 2012 Nov;117(4):370-82. doi: 10.3109/03009734.2012.707253. Epub 2012 Sep 25.


Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), a chronic condition characterized by collapse of the pharynx during sleep, has been increasingly recognized as a health issue of growing importance over the last decade. Recently emerging evidence suggests that there is a causal link between OSAS and hypertension, and hypertension represents an independent risk factor in OSAS patients. However, the pathophysiological basis for patients with OSAS having an increased risk for hypertension remains to be elucidated. The main acute physiological outcomes of OSAS are intermittent hypoxia, intrapleural pressure changes, and arousal from sleep, which might induce endothelial dysfunction, sympathetic activation, renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system activation, lipid metabolism dysfunction, and increased oxidative stress. This brief review focuses on the current understanding of the complex association between OSAS and hypertension.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications*
  • Hypertension / therapy
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy