OBJECTIVES Sleep-disordered breathing has been hypothesized to have a close relationship with hypertension but previous studies have reported mixed results. This is an important health issue that requires further clarification because of the potential impact on the prevention and control of hypertension.The relationship between hypertension and three forms of sleep-disordered breathing (chronic snoring, breathing pauses and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS)) was assessed using representative samples of the non-institutionalized population of the UK, Germany and Italy (159 million inhabitants). The samples were comprised of 13,057 individuals aged 15-100 years who were interviewed about their sleeping habits and their sleep symptoms over the telephone using the Sleep-EVAL system.OSAS was found in 1.9% (95% CI: 1.2% to 2.3%) of the UK sample, 1.8% (95% CI: 1.4% to 2.2%) of the German sample and 1.1% (95% CI: 0.8% to 1.4%) of the Italian sample. OSAS was an independent risk factor (odds ratio (OR): 9.7) for hypertension after controlling for possible confounding effects of age, gender, obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, life stress, and, heart and renal disease.Results from three of the most populated countries in Western Europe indicate that OSAS is an independent risk factor for hypertension. Snoring and breathing pauses during sleep appeared to be non-significant predictive factors.
View details for PubMedID 11033380