Obstructive sleep apnea causes more than disrupted sleep. According to a new study by Baylor College of Medicine, OSA can increase the risk of hypertension because of an imbalance of microorganisms in the gut.
The connection to OSA and hypertension has long been a medical mystery – until now. The researchers at Baylor found that OSA can cause an imbalance of gut microbiome, called dysbiosis, which can induce hypertension.
Researchers knew the OSA is not a solo medical issue – people who suffer from OSA usually suffer from obesity or diabetes. A high fat-diet isn’t the only factor changing the microbes that are in the gut, researchers concluded. Both diet and sleep apnea can lead to hypertension.
Using rats, researchers found that rats that had the imbalanced microbiome became hypertensive and those with the healthy microbiome remained normotensive. The study also suggests that manipulating the microbiome may be a potential treatment for OSA-induced hypertension.
Additional findings and reading can be found in the latest issue of Hypertension.