Sleep Apnea and Stroke
Research into sleep-disordered breathing (like sleep apnea) has increased awareness of the association between sleep disorders and stroke and TIA.
Sleep-disordered breathing is a general term for any type of breathing disruption that occurring during sleep, of which the most common is obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by:
People with sleep apnea and other sleep disorders experience a number of symptoms that may predispose them to stroke. Recent studies suggest:
Stroke and sleep apnea share many of the same risk factors. Older stroke and TIA patients with a high body mass index (BMI), diabetes and/or severe stroke are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea. Other risk factors include:
The NSA recommends that all acute stroke facilities and stroke rehabilitation programs include screening for sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing. Recognizing sleep problems in stroke survivors is often challenging because the symptoms associated with them are often attributed to stroke. Obtaining a complete sleep history from family members will help determine whether sleep problems were present prior to the stroke or developed after the stroke
Patients with SDB have a significant disadvantage in the struggle to recover from stroke. They develop compounded attention and concentration deficits that impair their abilities to perform activities of daily living and acquire new skills. Untreated SDB in any population leads to:
Benefits of treating SDB include: