Zee Media Bureau
Toronto: A new study has revealed that a single bout of sleep apnea can decrease your ability to regulate blood pressure.
Sleep apnea is a condition where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.
It can result in frequent periods of decreased oxygen levels in the body, known as intermittent hypoxia.
The study said just six hours of the fluctuating oxygen levels associated with sleep apnea can begin to deteriorate a person's circulatory system.
Researcher Glen Foster, Assistant Professor at University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus in Canada said "While it is well established that sleep apnea is linked to high blood pressure, our study shows this condition has an impact on the cardiovascular system that can begin within a single day".
Foster added, "After just six hours of fluctuating oxygen levels, similar to what happens with sleep apnea, the body's ability to regulate blood pressure is impaired".
"These changes occurred almost immediately in healthy young adults who were not experiencing the cumulative effects years of sleep apnea could bring about," Foster said.
For the study, Foster examined the impact of intermittent hypoxia on the cardiovascular system in a few healthy young adults.
Study participants wore a ventilating mask for six hours and oxygen levels were altered to mimic sleep apnea symptoms.
The findings found that sleep apnea compromised the function of a person's baroreceptors--biological sensors that regulate blood pressure.
The study was published in the American Journal of Physiology,
It also found damaging blood flow patterns in the legs, which over time could impact vascular health.
"These findings suggest that interventions for people suffering sleep apnea should occur as soon as the condition is diagnosed," Foster said.
(With IANS inputs)