Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a strong and independent risk factor for the development of hypertension, particularly resistant hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases. Patients with resistant hypertension have a high prevalence of OSA in association with elevated aldosterone levels, high salt intake, and salt-sensitive BP. The objective of this study was to determine whether dietary salt and aldosterone are associated with severity of OSA in patients with resistant hypertension.
Ninety-seven patients with resistant hypertension were prospectively evaluated by overnight polysomnography and 24-h urinary sodium and aldosterone levels while maintaining their usual diet. Hyperaldosteronism was defined as a plasma renin activity of < 1 ng/mL/h and urinary aldosterone level of ≥ 12 μg/24 h.
Overall, patients’ mean clinic BP was 156.3 ± 22.4/88.9 ± 13.3 mm Hg while taking an average of 4.3 ± 1.1 antihypertensive medications. Prevalence of OSA was 77.3%. Twenty-eight (28.9%) patients had hyperaldosteronism. Urinary sodium level was an independent predictor of severity of OSA only in patients with hyperaldosteronism.
The findings suggest that dietary salt is related to the severity of OSA in patients with resistant hypertension and hyperaldosteronism. The results support dietary salt restriction as a treatment strategy for reduction of OSA severity in these patients.