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Active Voice: Sympathetic Activity in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

from By Linda Massako Ueno-Pardi, Ph.D.

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Linda Massako Ueno-Pardi, Ph.D., was trained as a physiologist and researcher at the School of Arts, Science, and Humanities of University of São Paulo in Brazil. Her research focuses on neurovascular modulation, sleep, cognition, and exercise training in health and disease.

This commentary presents Dr. Ueno-Pardi’s views on the topic of a research article she and her colleagues authored together. Their article appeared in the July 2017 issue of
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® (MSSE).

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is characterized by partial (hypopnea) and/or total obstructions (apnea) of the upper airway at night. In contrast to healthy individuals who have a decrease in muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) during sleep, patients with OSA experience repetitive apneas and hypopneas that result in decreased airflow to the lungs, hypoxia, reoxygenation and surges in sympathetic activation. Together, these factors may play a role in alterations in cardiovascular system regulation that, over time, may contribute to increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular morbidity.

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