Sleep Disorder Increases Stroke Risk

Sunday 11th April 2010

New research suggests that people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, are at an increased risk of having a debilitating stroke. Researchers from the Sleep Heart Health Study found that middle aged men and women with the sleep disorder could be up to twice as likely to suffer a stroke. The study also shows that people with sleep apnea are more likely to develop high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, a heart attack and suffer potentially fatal heart failure.

Researchers spent over nine years studying the stroke risk of 5,422 men and women who were over the age of 40 and had no known history of strokes. They found that those who had sleep apnea were much more likely to suffer a stroke. And researchers reported that men more likely to suffer a stroke than their female counterparts. Women with severe sleep apnea were found to be at an increased stroke risk, but men with both mild and sever sleep apnea were at heightened stroke risk.

The study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, is bound to make alarming reading for the many sleep apnea sufferers across the world. However, researchers claim that their findings could lead to the improved treatment and prevention of strokes - the second leading cause of death worldwide. The researchers now plan to see whether treating sleep apnea could affect the incidence levels of stroke and heart attacks. It is hoped that the insights the team develop could lead to improved treatments for the sleep disorder and heart conditions respectively.

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