Sleep-disordered breathing and systemic hypertension in the older male

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1996 Nov;44(11):1295-300. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1996.tb01398.x.


Objective: To investigate the relationship between sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and essential hypertension in a population of older male hypertensives.

Patients: One-hundred forty consecutive older hypertensive males.

Measurements: Monitoring of sleep-related breathing abnormality with a portable sleep apnea monitor (level III device). Assessment of complaints related to sleep quality using a validated questionnaire. Systemic arterial blood pressure according to WHO standards and biochemical analyses. SDB was defined as more than 10 abnormal respiratory events per hour of sleep.

Design: Prospective investigation on a retrospective cohort.

Setting: Veterans Administrations hypertension clinic.

Main results: SDB was diagnosed in 80% of this older, hypertensive, male population. Thirty-four percent of all study subjects presented with severe SDB, with more than 30 abnormal respiratory events per hour of sleep. Subjects with SDB were significantly heavier (BMI = 30.0 +/- 5.2 kg/m2) than subjects without SDB (BMI = 26.8 +/- 5.1 kg/m2, P = .004). Furthermore, subjects with SDB slept significantly longer (by a mean of 46 minutes/night, P = .027) and complained significantly more often of daytime sleepiness than subjects without SDB (P = .018). Fifty percent of all 140 subjects snored more than 10% of the total sleep time, and 26% snored for more than one-third of the night. No significant differences in blood pressure values were observed in subjects with compared with subjects without sleep-disordered breathing. However, a considerable number of subjects presenting with hypertensive blood pressure values despite treatment could be identified. Subjects presenting with hypertensive blood pressure values had a significantly higher severity index of SDB than subjects with normotensive blood pressure values (P = .047).

Conclusions: This investigation supports data showing that undiagnosed SDB is a common phenomenon in older male individuals, leading to impaired daytime functioning and impairment of overall quality of life. More importantly, our data suggests that untreated SDB may have an adverse effect on the efficacy of antihypertensive treatment in hypertensive individuals with sleep-disordered breathing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polysomnography
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / complications*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires