Up to 70% of those who have survived a Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) have a history of Sleep Apneaor Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB).
Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when the softer tissues of the upper airway collapse and close off the airway. A relatively small collapse can cause snoring and generally increases the required breathing effort. Full closure of the airway may prevent breathing for extended periods and lead to significant drops in the blood oxygen supply, or hypoxia. The brain detects the hazardous state and temporarily wakes up, allowing you to gasp for air.
Repeated nightly episodes of hypoxia and arousals put a great strain on the heart and cardiovascular system. Because of this, people with Snoring and Sleep Apnea have a much greater risk of Hypertension. Hypertension is a major risk factor for stroke.
Sleep Apnea and Stroke share common risk factors.
- History of Snoring
- Hypertension and Heart Disease
Can Snoring and Sleep Apnea Affect Recovery after Stroke?
Stroke survivors with untreated Sleep Apnea are at a disadvantage in their recovery process. Snoring and Sleep Apnea can lead to significant daytime symptoms that can impact motivation and compliance in the recovery process. A few of these symptoms are:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Memory loss
- Impaired cognitive functioning.
There are numerous treatments for Sleep Disorders readily available from accredited sleep medicine programs. Therapeutic options include Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT), medications, and other specific treatments.