Snoring occurs when air struggles to squeeze past mouth and throat tissues that have relaxed during sleep. As the tissues compress tighter, snoring becomes louder, and in cases of sleep apnea, the tissues can squeeze tight enough to completely block your airflow and halt your breathing. Lack of oxygen is one of the most alarming signals your brain can receive, so your brain is forced to wake your body enough to restart the breathing process. Sleep apnea sufferers experience these episodes hundreds of times a night, and each episode can last up to ten seconds or more. Today, we explore two ways that these hundreds of airflow interruptions every night can make sleep apnea a serious threat to your health, such as increasing your risk of experiencing a stroke.
The Risk Factors of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
A number of different health issues have been linked to sleep apnea, including symptoms of sleep deprivation, such as daytime fatigue, irritability, and a reduced ability to focus. Given the lack of oxygen, its association to stroke may come as no surprise. A stroke occurs when brain cells die due to a lack of oxygen. Typically, a stroke is caused by an obstruction in blood flow or the collapse of an artery that feeds blood to the brain. However, the excessive repetition of oxygen interruption during the night can increase your chances of suffering a stroke.
Sleep Apnea After a Stroke
Patients who have suffered a stroke before are at increased risk of sleep apnea and should be screened for the condition as often as their doctor recommends. Stroke patients with untreated sleep apnea are at a higher risk of suffering a second stroke, and the sleep disorder has been known to hinder rehabilitation efforts.
Speak with Our Sleep Experts Today
By treating sleep apnea, you can improve the quality of your sleep as well as reduce your risks of chronic health issues, including stroke and cardiovascular disease. To schedule a consultation, call Houston Sleep Solutions in Spring, TX, at (281) 320-2000, or in Pearland, TX, at (832) 564-3508.