Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA is a condition where the breathing of a person gets interrupted while they are sleeping, with this happening as many as 100 times in an hour. This disorder mostly comes on in people over 40 years of age, and in those who are overweight. It is seen that more men than women have this problem, which becomes equally probable as age progresses.
Sleep Apnea is known to be the cause of a variety of cardiovascular, behavioural, and neurological problems, such as heart attacks, lack of concentration, depression, high blood pressure and poor memory. It is also seen to be a risk factor for strokes. It can be treated using a mouthpiece for sleep apnea.
What is Stroke?
A stroke happens when some part of the brain gets deprived of blood and oxygen, from any number of reasons. This can be caused by a blocked or narrowed artery to the brain, or even a burst blood vessel in the brain. Low oxygen levels in the blood and brain can be caused by the breathing interruptions seen in OSA. The most probable kind of stroke to result from sleep apnea is ischemic stroke, where the blood supply to the brain is lessened.
If you Have a Stroke While Asleep
Stroke risks that result from sleep breathing are very dangerous. In such a scenario, a person who fell asleep early in the night, can have a stroke, and not know about it until several hours later. If it has been more than three hours after the stroke came on, then you have passed the time for intravenous blood clot dissolution. This means the damage caused by the stroke cannot be reversed. It is not uncommon to sustain severe brain damage or even die as a result of such a stroke.
If you Suspect a Breathing Problem
There may be one or more of the symptoms mentioned above, or maybe you were told by a loved one or sleeping partner that you snore a lot at night. The best way forward is not to take these observations lightly, and to get to a primary care physician as soon as possible. They can refer you for a sleep study, which will show if you have OSA.
It stands to reason that treating both snoring and OSA can greatly reduce your risks of developing stroke, especially while asleep. Not only that, but it is also a great way to stop snoring, ensuring a better quality of life.