The Triad of Sleep Apnea, Hypertension, and Chronic Kidney Disease: A Spectrum of Common Pathology

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Abstract

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), hypertension, and chronic kidney disease (CKD) are different entities and are generally managed individually most of the time. However, CKD, OSA, and hypertension share many common risk factors and it is not uncommon to see this complex triad together. In fact, they share similar pathophysiology and have been interlinked with each other. The common pathophysiology includes chronic volume overload, hyperaldosteronism, increased sympathetic activity, endothelial dysfunction, and increased inflammatory markers. The combination of this triad has significant negative impact on the cardiovascular health, and increases the mortality and morbidity in this complicated group of patients. On one hand, progression of CKD can lead to the worsening of OSA and hypertension; similarly, worsening sleep apnea can make the hypertension difficult to treat and enhance the progression of CKD. This review article highlights the bidirectional interlink among these apparently different disease processes which share common pathophysiological mechanisms and emphasizes the importance of treating them collectively to improve outcomes.

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