Blood Pressure Rose in Kids with Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea in children linked to elevated blood pressure

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) In adults, sleep apnea is tied to higher blood pressure. Does sleep apnea produce the same result in children?

In a recent study, researchers found that more severe sleep apnea among children was tied to higher blood pressure after four years. Both overweight and normal weight children were at risk.

The authors of this study suggested that sleep apnea is a key factor in regulating blood pressure in children.

"Get proper treatment for your child's sleep apnea."

Albert Li, MD, of the Department of Pediatrics at the Prince of Wales and Shatin Hospital, led this study on childhood sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea occurs when there are pauses or gaps in breathing during sleep.

According to Dr. Li and colleagues, research has linked sleep apnea in adults to higher blood pressure. This study investigated whether the same relationship exists for children who have sleep apnea.

High blood pressure during childhood increases the risk of high blood pressure during adulthood, metabolism problems and other heart health issues, according to these researchers.

A total of 185 children with sleep apnea were recruited for this study. Data was collected at a four-year follow-up visit, during which their blood pressure was measured for 24 hours.

The researchers also measured the children's height, weight, sleep habits and daytime sleepiness.

These researchers analyzed the data from the 58 overweight participants and the 127 normal weight participants separately.

The group of normal weight children had not experienced significant changes in BMI or sleep apnea severity over the previous four years.

The overweight participants had significant reductions in BMI but no significant changes in sleep apnea severity.

The researchers found that, for both groups, a higher sleep apnea severity at the beginning of the study was linked with higher blood pressure at the four-year follow-up.

For the group of overweight participants, changes in sleep apnea severity were also tied to changes in blood pressure scores across the four-year period.

According to the authors of this study, sleep apnea remains an important factor in regulating blood pressure, regardless of one's body weight or BMI. They concluded that sleep apnea severity may be a driving factor of high blood pressure in young people.

These researchers acknowledged some limitations to the study, like the modest rate of follow-up and only one night of observing sleep patterns.

The study was published in Chest on January 2.

The researchers did not disclose any funding information or conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
January 16, 2014
Last Updated:
January 18, 2014