Can Sleep Apnea Cause a Stroke?
Dec 26, 2022

Can Sleep Apnea Cause a Stroke?

Sleep apnea is a sleeping breathing disorder that causes you to breathe repeatedly slow or stop during sleep. Without treatment, sleep apnea has drastic consequences for your health, including increasing the risk of experiencing a heart attack, irregular heartbeat and type 2 diabetes.

There are several types of sleep apnea associated with stroke. A stroke happens when blood flow is stopped to a part of your brain or when a blood vessel within your brain ruptures. Sleep apnea increases the risk of a stroke, and having a stroke might make you more likely to develop sleep apnea.

Understanding your risk of stroke is one of the most critical aspects of prevention. Learn more about the risk of stroke related to sleep apnea, whether strokes occur while you are sleeping, and the importance of working with your doctor to diagnose and treat sleep apnea.

Risk factors for Stroke in Sleep Apnea

Several health conditions increase your stroke risk, including obstructive sleep apnea. This type of sleep apnea raises the risk of an ischemic stroke which occurs when the blood vessel that delivers blood to your brain becomes blocked.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Stroke Risk

Obstructive sleep apnea is the type of sleep apnea that occurs when you are upper airway repeatedly collapses well you are sleeping. In addition to increasing your risk of stroke, this type of sleep apnea can disrupt sleep and cause daytime symptoms like morning headaches, excessive sleepiness and mood swings.

It shows that obstructive sleep apnea is an independent risk factor for stroke. This means that people with this type of sleep apnea have an increased risk of experiencing a stroke, even in the absence of other risk factors. However, not everyone experiences a stroke with obstructive sleep apnea.

Although the increased risk is still being studied, there are several possible explanations for people with obstructive sleep apnea having great sleep or stroke. They include

  • Limited oxygen. Obstructive sleep apnea causes a decrease in oxygen saturation. This means the blood does not carry enough oxygen to meet your body’s needs. When this happens repeatedly, it causes abnormal changes in the blood vessels within your brain.

  • Reduced blood flow to your brain. When your airway repeatedly collapses during sleep, it creates negative air pressure inside your chest, which slows down blood flow to the brain.

  • Defects in the structure of your heart. People with obstructive sleep apnea are twice as likely to have a hole in their hearts, known as a patent foramen ovale. This increases the risk of a stroke.

  • Effects on other risk factors for stroke. Obstructive sleep apnea raises the risk of other conditions, including hypertension, heart disease, abnormal heart rhythms and diabetes. This and other health conditions of obstructive sleep apnea can increase the risk of stroke.

  • The risk of having a stroke increases the severity of obstructive sleep apnea. The severity of obstructive sleep apnea is determined based on your symptoms and the number of breathing disruptions you experience each night.

  • Mild. Mild obstructive sleep apnea is when you have 5 to 14 abnormal breathing episodes per hour. If you have mild obstructive sleep apnea, you may not notice daytime symptoms or may have only mild symptoms that don’t affect your daily life.

  • Moderate. If you have moderate obstructive sleep apnea, you will have between 15 to 30 episodes of sleep each hour. Daytime symptoms are usually noticeable, and you may have to make an effort to stay awake by taking regular naps and avoiding long drives.

  • Severe. Severe obstructive sleep apnea it’s where you will have more than 30 breathing disruptions every hour. Severe obstructive sleep apnea often causes symptoms that interfere with daily life and is associated with the highest risk of health conditions.

If You Think You Have Sleep Apnea

If you are concerned about sleep apnea, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor at Family Dental Care in Oak Lawn. The dentist will evaluate your symptoms, provide medical advice and offer you sleep apnea treatments necessary.

Benefits of Treating Sleep Apnea

Several ways to reduce your risk of having a stroke, including seeking sleep apnea treatment. Managing sleep apnea with the help of our dentist in Oak Lawn, we’ll come up with several benefits, including:

  • Less daytime sleepiness
  • Better quality sleep
  • Fewer trips to the doctor

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