Physician Outlook

Associations of Sleep Disorders with Hypertension and Diabetes

Featuring Physician: Alberto Ramos, MD Dr. Ramos, a Board-Certified Neurologist and Associate Professor of Clinical Neurology and Research Director of the Sleep Disorders program at the Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, is an expert on sleep disorders. He is interested in Hispanic community health and the association between sleep, diabetes, and high blood pressure. He is currently studying the relationship between sleep deprivation and Alzheimer’s disease.


   In the interview with my Doqter staff, Dr. Ramos shares information about his study published in the American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine in August 2020: Associations of Sleep Disordered Breathing and Insomnia with Incident Hypertension and Diabetes: The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos.

   In his study, Dr. Ramos addresses the relationship between the quality and quantity of sleep and its incidence on diabetes and hypertension. He affirms that the lack of sleep leads our nervous system to release adrenaline in high amounts, resulting in a high increase of heart rate and blood pressure, which translates into hypertension.    Lack of sleep also deepens the release of cortisol at night and changes appetite hormones that, over time, contribute to obesity.

   Dr. Ramos also explains that Hispanics/Latinos, due to lack of sleep, have increased cardiometabolic disorders, such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, compared to non-Hispanic whites.

   One point of great importance is that, as sleep disorders are treatable and can be modified, they can lessen the effect of hypertension and diabetes in Hispanics as well as in the population at large.

   Dr.Ramos carried out the most extensive health study in U.S. Hispanics/Latinos to analyze the effect of sleep apnea and insomnia for seven years.  They observed that sleep disorders increased the risk of having new hypertension and diabetes.

   Even though they were expecting such findings, they did not expect them to be so strong. These findings are along the lines of other studies on African American patients, which showed an enhanced risk of cardiometabolic disorders related to lack of sleep.

   Dr. Ramos is currently evaluating how sleep affects cognitive function, cognitive aging, and the risk of progressing into Alzheimer’s disease and also other forms of dementia.

   Dr. Ramos hopes to gather valuable scientific insights to help patients regain control over their sleep habits and, thus, regain control over their health.


To see the full interview, click here.

To learn more about Dr. Ramos, click here.

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