What is silent stroke?
A silent stroke describes a stroke that occurs, but has no outwardly visible or identifiable symptoms typically associated with stroke like slurred speech, paralysis, face drooping, pain, etc. Most patients don’t even know they’ve had one, which makes them extremely dangerous if left unnoticed.
More than half of individuals who suffer a stroke also suffer from sleep apnea. Combined with the fact that silent strokes are virtually undetectable, you run the risk of severe, permanent damage if your sleep apnea goes undiagnosed or untreated. According to findings in a 2012 study by the Dresden University Stroke Center’s Department of Neurology, Germany, “patients who had severe sleep apnea were more likely to have silent strokes and the severity of sleep apnea increased the risk of being disabled at hospital discharge.”
Why is your risk of silent stroke greater with OSA?
Sleep apnea can be an after effect of stroke or could cause it, so the two are inextricably linked. People who have OSA, especially men, are three times more likely to suffer stroke if the OSA is not treated properly. This is because low oxygen levels and high blood pressure, often caused by sleep apnea, can increase the risk of a stroke. (Note: the less prevalent central sleep apnea, which occurs when the brain doesn’t remind the body to breathe, has also been associated with brain stem stroke as that is where the signal to breathe originates.)
Those who previously suffered a stroke have a 60 percent increased risk for sleep apnea because stroke effects cause a strain on the cardiovascular system. This can also lead to hypertension, increasing your chance at a recurrent stroke. In the Dresden study, 91 percent of people who had suffered an ischemic stroke had sleep apnea, with over half of that percentage suffering moderate to severe apnea. Of those who had had a silent stroke, 58 percent suffered severe sleep apnea.
Additionally, studies have shown that people who sleep fewer than six hours a night are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. Determine your risk factor for OSA and consult your doctor immediately.
How can RespShop help?
Sleep is extremely important for both preventing and the successful recovery after a stroke. As a leading retailer of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines, other breathing treatments and therapies, RespShop.com is dedicated to helping sleep apnea sufferers rest deeply, breathe easier and improve your health all while you sleep! Shop now.