What is a Stroke?
A stroke is an event that happens when the blood supply to your brain becomes interrupted and the brain tissue becomes damaged. In most cases, the interruption is a result of a blood clot blocking a blood vessel in the neck or brain. Strokes can cause death, movement problems, numbness, pain, difficulty remembering, thinking, or speaking, and contribute to emotional problems including depression.
How Sleep Apnea Increases Your Risk of Stroke
Sleep apnea is one of the top contributors to stroke. The more severe your sleep apnea, the larger your risk for stroke. There are a few reasons why sleep apnea contributes to stroke. First off, when sleep apnea goes untreated, you will stop breathing hundreds of times per night because your airway becomes obstructed.
Your body then wakes up to start breathing again and with this comes a release of stress hormones and an increase in blood pressure. Without sleep apnea treatment or blood pressure control, sleep apnea can cause atrial fibrillation. High blood pressure and atrial fibrillation both increase the risk for stroke.
With that said, it’s incredibly important to get sleep apnea treatment if you do have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea treatment will decrease your risk of stroke significantly.