The Relationship Between Sleep Apnea and Stroke

Oct 25th, 2012 | By | Category: Patient Education, Sleep Apnea

 Sleep Apnea and StrokeSleep apnea is a condition during which your breathing pauses or stops while you are asleep (the word apnea means “to stop breathing”). Typically characterized by loud, thunderous snores, obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the tissues in your mouth and throat relax to the point where they compress and block your airway. During an apnic episode, the patient stops breathing for about ten seconds at a time, and the process can repeat hundreds of times a night. The condition can lead to a plethora of health issues, including daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and other symptoms reminiscent of sleep deprivation. Another consequence of untreated sleep apnea involves an increased risk for stroke. Richmond dentist, Dr. Stefan Moiceanu, explores the relationship between the two serious health conditions.

Sleep Apnea and Stroke Similarities

A stroke, sometimes known as a brain attack, occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, causing brain cells to die. The obstruction can stem from a blocked or collapsed blood vessel or artery, and the cells die due to oxygen deprivation. This may sound familiar—sleep apnea involves multiple, sometimes hundreds, of episodes during which your body is being deprived of oxygen. Your body understands that lack of oxygen is a serious matter, and during apnic episodes, your body wakes enough to begin the breathing process again. The repeated wakefulness also robs you of much-needed deep sleep. The combination of oxygen and sleep deprivation can leave you exhausted by the time you rise out of bed. Many patients who experience a stroke also suffer from sleep apnea afterwards, and untreated, the condition can increase the patient’s risk of suffering a second stroke.

Treating Sleep Apnea

In severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea, treatment may require a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to keep your airway clear during sleep. In more moderate cases, Dr. Moiceanu recommends the use of a sleepguard. Similar to a mouthguard worn during sports activities, a sleepguard positions your lower jaw slightly forward to prevent the collapse of soft mouth and throat tissue. To learn more about treating sleep apnea, contact Dr. Moiceanu at our Richmond, CA dentist office by calling 510-758-7222. Located in Richmond, we proudly serve families from Berkeley, San Pablo, Pinole, Benicia, Vallejo, and the surrounding communities.

Share on Facebook
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,