Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What’s all the Hype? Oral Appliance Therapy Lowers Hypertension

A new study published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation found that puppies and kittens aren’t the only things that can lower high blood pressure. Oral appliance therapy (OAT) also decreases high blood pressure in sleep apnea patients.

High blood pressure is common in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients. Studies show that 28 to 57 percent of people with OSA also have hypertension.

This study investigated whether OAT can lower OSA patients’ blood pressure.

Twenty-nine sleep apnea patients received an oral appliance to treat their apnea. Oral appliances look like mouth guards but are worn during sleep.

The patients’ blood pressure was measured before treatment, after three months of treatment, and after three years of treatment. The researchers used electronic blood pressure monitors to take the measurements.

After three months, 86 percent of the patients had responded to OAT. Success was considered when the patient experienced pauses in breath fewer than 10 times per hour during sleep.

Significant reductions in blood pressure occurred between the initial blood pressure measurement and the three-month evaluation. This reduced blood pressure remained three years later.

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that should be treated. Untreated sleep apnea and high blood pressure can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Find-a-dentist trained in OAT near you.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.