Neurological Sleep Disorders and Blood Pressure: Current Evidence

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Abstract

Hypertension is a major determinant of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and is highly prevalent in the general population. While the relationship between sleep apnea and increased blood pressure has been well documented, less recognized is emerging evidence linking sleep-related movement disorders such as restless legs syndrome/periodic limb movements of sleep and sleep-related bruxism with blood pressure (BP) dysregulation and hypertension. There is also recent literature linking narcolepsy-cataplexy with elevated BP and altered pressor responses, and there are data suggesting abnormal BP control in rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder. It is thought that neural circulatory mechanisms, sympathetic activation in particular, comprise the predominant mediator underlying elevated BP in these neurological sleep disorders. There is very limited evidence that treating these sleep disorders may be beneficial in lowering BP primarily because this question has received very little attention. In this review, we discuss the potential pathophysiologic mechanisms underlying elevated BP in restless legs syndrome/periodic limb movements of sleep, sleep-related bruxism, narcolepsy-cataplexy, and rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder. We also examine the relationship between these sleep disorders and elevated BP and the impact of treatment of these conditions on BP control. Last, we discuss gaps in the literature evaluating the associations between these sleep disorders and elevated BP and identify areas for further research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)726-732
Number of pages7
JournalHypertension (Dallas, Tex. : 1979)
Volume74
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

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Keywords

  • attention
  • blood pressure
  • hypertension
  • restless legs syndrome sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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