Sleep Apnea Linked to Increased Risk of Silent Strokes

According to a small study, individuals who have severe sleep apnea could be at a higher risk of silent strokes as well as small lesions within the brain.

The study discovered a remarkably high frequency of sleep apnea in individuals having stroke which highlights its clinical relevance as being a risk factor for stroke.

Sleep apnea is hugely unacknowledged and still often ignored. Individuals having severe sleep apnea were more prone to experience silent strokes and also the degree sleep apnea severity elevated the chance of being disabled when discharged from hospital.

The patients were an average of 67 years old, white and 54 % women, and had overnight in-hospital tests for sleep apnea. Computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging were used to establish silent strokes and brain lesions.

The study found:

  • 91 % of the individuals that experienced a stroke also had sleep apnea and were also more prone to experience silent strokes as well as brain lesions which elevated risk of disability discharged from hospital.
  • Having in excess of 5 sleep apnea episodes every night was linked to silent strokes.
  • In excess of a third of people that had brain lesions also had severe sleep apnea and in excess of 50 % of patients that had silent strokes had sleep apnea.
  • Although men had been more prone to have silent strokes, associations between silent strokes and sleep apnea stayed the same after adjusting for these kinds of gender differences.

The researchers advised that sleep apnea ought to be treated much like other vascular risk factors like hypertension.

The Consequences Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Infographic
References: DOI: 10.1007/s00415-013-7200-z