Apnoea / apnea sufferers are more likely to have a stroke and highly likely to experience worse outcomes after stroke, according to a recent study reported in the Journal of Stroke & Cerebrovascular Diseases
According to the study, patients who are at high risk for ischaemic heart disease should be routinely checked for obstructive sleep apnoea / apnea. Early findings suggest the prevalence of apnoea / apnea in this group could be as high as 60%
The study examined the correlation of obstructive sleep apnoea with age, sex, ischaemic stroke subtype, disability and death. Patients with a high likelihood of having sleep apnoea / apnea were identified via use of the Berlin Sleep Questionnaire.
The study found that patients with a previous diagnosis of OSA but who had not been treated were more likely to die within the first month after a stroke, compared with those without OSA. A previous diagnosis of OSA and subsequent failure to undergo treatment was an independent predictor of worse functional outcomes after stroke.
The correlation between ischaemic heart disease, stroke and sleep disordered breathing has long been known, but this study goes some way toward quantifying the negative impact of apnoea / apnea and heart disease.
As always, sleep disordered breathing (whether it be a mild as simple snoring, or as serious as severe obstructive sleep apnoea / apnea) is something which should be treated, not tolereated.
If you snore or suspect you suffer from sleep apnoea / apnea, or know someone who does, arrange a sleep study to determine the exact nature and severity of the condition.