A new study shows that the effects of a stroke may be more severe in people who have obstructive sleep apnea.
The study involved 174 people who had a stroke. Their risk for sleep apnea was assessed by questionnaire. Results show that 60 percent had a high risk for sleep apnea. Seven participants had already been diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Having a high risk for sleep apnea was a predictor for having a worse stroke outcome. People at risk for sleep apnea also were more disabled at the point of discharge from the hospital. The seven people with confirmed sleep apnea had a higher risk of death in the first month after the stroke.
"In the context of recovering from a stroke, sleep apnea can have a serious impact,” study author Dr. Latha Stead said in a University of Rochester Medical Center statement.
A stroke is a “brain attack” that occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. It can result from either a blood clot that blocks an artery or from a broken blood vessel.
A recent study found that people with sleep apnea have decreased blood flow velocity in the brain’s arteries. Their brains’ blood vessels also have a lower rate of recovery when blood pressure drops. Other studies have shown that sleep apnea increases your risk of death from heart disease or stroke.
Stead added that it is harder for the brain to heal from a stroke when the blood has low oxygen levels. People also do not respond well to stroke rehab programs when they are sleep deprived.
Are you at risk for sleep apnea? Answer these questions to find out.