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The connection between sleep apnea and stroke

Mohammed Sajed, MD, Neurologist, Edward Neurosciences Institute
PHOTO:  Neurologist
Mohammed Sajed, MD, 
Edward Neurosciences

Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide, with factors such as age, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and diabetes proven to increase risk. A study by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute firmly establishes sleep apnea as yet another risk factor. The findings connect sleep apnea with an increased risk of stroke in middle-aged and older adults, especially men. Men with moderate to severe sleep apnea were shown to be nearly three times more likely to have a stroke compared to men without sleep apnea or with mild sleep apnea.

Why men?

Researchers concluded that men are more likely to develop sleep apnea at a younger age than women and therefore, have untreated sleep apnea for longer periods of time which does more damage to a man's health.

What testing is being done?

According to Mohammad Sajed, MD, Neurologist with the Edward Neurosciences Institute, "to further study the connection between sleep apnea and stroke, researchers are now looking to see what kinds of treatment for sleep apnea are best at reducing one's risk for stroke. Common treatments to restore regular breathing during sleep include: breathing devices such as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)."

As further testing is done to determine the cardiovascular effects of using CPAP to help treat sleep apnea, the successful application of this treatment should result in the decreased occurrence of stroke.

What's next?

As it stands, sleep apnea affects over 12 million American adults. Untreated sleep apnea is a dangerous condition on its own, and can:

  • Increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, obesity and diabetes.
  • Make irregular heartbeats more likely.
  • Increase the chances of having work-related or driving accidents.

Talk to your physician if you suffer from sleep apnea. Getting treatment may not only give you a better night's sleep, but may reduce your risk of this serious cardiovascular condition.

Join us for a free lecture - Be Stroke Aware

Learn more at "Be Stroke Aware," at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 23 in the Education Center at Edward Hospital, 801 S. Washington St. in Naperville. Neurologists from the Edward Neurosciences Institute will offer lifesaving tips and breakthrough techniques to prevent and treat stroke. To register, please call 630-527-6363 or register online.

Register Online 

Edward also has on-line risk assessments you can take to see if you are at risk for sleep apnea or stroke. Take these five minute tests that could save your life: www.edward.org/strokeaware or www.edward.org/sleepaware.

Find Support: Edward Sleep Center AWAKE Group

Join the Edward Sleep Center AWAKE Group for their monthly meeting on Monday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Edward Sleep Center, 27555 Diehl Road Entrance F, Warrenville, IL. For more information call 630.646.3940 or go to www.edward.org/sleepcenter.


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801 S. Washington, Naperville, IL 60540 • (630) 527-3000

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