DR. DONALD JOHNSON: Stroke survivers with untreated sleep apnea

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Patients who have had a stroke who also have untreated obstructive sleep apnea have a very high risk of another stroke or death. This information is from some research presented at the International Stroke Conference in 2018. This is a conference presented by the American Stroke Association. The conference is an annual meeting for researchers and clinicians. It is dedicated to treatment of cerebrovascular problems.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a dangerous condition and 90 percent of those who have it are currently undiagnosed. Patients who snore almost always have OSA. This is a condition where there are pauses in breathing during sleep that last for 10 seconds or more and occur five times or more per hour of sleep. Snoring, gasping during sleep, daytime tiredness and an unrefreshed feeling in the morning are symptoms of OSA. More information can be found on my website www.NwSleepDoc.com.

The group that did the research was the Brain Attack Surveillance from Corpus Christi, Texas, and it included 842 people with a median age of 65 who had already had an ischemic stroke. They used portable sleep apnea-monitoring devices and found that 63 percent of the participants had 10 or more breathing pauses each hour. This indicates that these patients have untreated obstructive sleep apnea. These pauses in breathing last for at least 10 seconds and the average in patients with sleep apnea is about 20 seconds. These pauses occur after the patient breathes out, not after the patient breathes in. Try it on yourself.

The researchers did a follow-up and found that the median time to an event was 584 days. At that time, 10.7 percent of the participants had had another stroke and 14.8 percent had died. For each apneic event (pause in breathing) per hour, there was a 9 percent increase in the patient experiencing another stroke or death.

The abstract was published in the journal Stroke and the NHI (National Institutes of Health) funded the study.

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Dr. Donald Johnson founded Heartfelt Family Dental and Northwest Treatment Center for Snoring & Sleep Apnea in Coeur d’Alene to help people live free with no limits! His office is at 114 W. Neider Ave., near Costco. The websites for more information are www.HeartfeltDental.com or www.NwSleepDoc.com and the office phone is (208) 667-4551. Schedule an appointment for a free consultation today!

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