Sleep Apnea Increases Stroke Risk

(WebMD Health News) Obstructive sleep apnea more than doubles the risk of stroke in men and also increases the danger in women, new research indicates.

The finding comes from a major study of 5,422 people aged 40 and older who had no history of stroke. Researchers say increased risk of stroke appeared in men with mild sleep apnea and rose with severity.

Men with moderate to severe sleep apnea were about three times more likely to have a stroke than men with mild or no sleep apnea, researchers say.

The increased risk of stroke in women with obstructive sleep apnea was significant only in cases of severe apnea, according to the study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Stroke

Data were taken from the Sleep Heart Health Study, which is ongoing at a number of locations. The participants in the beginning performed a standard at-home sleep test to determine whether they had sleep apnea, and if so, its severity.

They were followed for about nine years, and during that time, 193 suffered strokes — 85 men out of 2,462 enrolled and 108 women out of 2,960.

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