Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sleep apnea, strokes and small lesions

I have read in the past about the connection between strokes and sleep apnea.  Unlike a heart attack a stroke has to do with the blood supply being cut off from the brain which in turn stops certain functions within the brain. Stroke victims often suffer from paralysis and diminished body control due to brain damage.  Similar to sleep apnea, diabetes and high blood pressure can also be a factor with regards to having a stroke. 
An article from Occupational Health Safety states that small lesions in addition to strokes can come about because of sleep apnea.  The article refers to a study that shows 91 percent of the stroke victims (in the study) also had sleep apnea.  To me that is a really frightening number to think that large of percentage of stroke victims had sleep apnea beforehand. The type of stroke that they refer to is called silent strokes where there are none of the usual effects of strokes but it can be just as dangerous.  And the article goes on to say that one third of the study participants had white matter lesions which are attributed to the strokes.    
For more information on strokes go to the Stroke Organization website
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