News / Health

    Sleep Apnea Associated with Stroke

    Condition raises stress hormones and can overwork the heart

    This mask, which is hooked up to a motor, delivers constant air into the throat and lungs, making it impossible to experience sleep apnea.
    This mask, which is hooked up to a motor, delivers constant air into the throat and lungs, making it impossible to experience sleep apnea.

    Multimedia

    Carol Pearson

    Snoring can be irritating or funny - depending on whether or not it's disturbing your sleep. But it can also be deadly, especially when someone suffers from sleep apnea, a condition where a person stops breathing for a while and then gasps for air.  Increasingly, evidence points to a relationship between sleep apnea and stroke.  

    For many people, the sound of sleep is anything but silent. And for some of these people, snoring could be a sign of sleep apnea.

    "Sleep apnea means that the airway, the upper airway cuts off at night," says Dr. David Gross, a pulmonary specialist at the National Rehabilitation Hospital of  Washington. "So the person, while he’s breathing normally in the day time, when he goes to sleep, the muscles get all relaxed and cut off and this can happen over and over again, 60 to 100 times an hour."

    Doctors say most of the people who snore do not have sleep apnea, but most the people with sleep apnea snore. And increasingly, the condition is being recognized as a risk factor for stroke and heart attack.

    "Whenever we run out of enough air to breathe, it sends alerting signals to our minds," says Dr. Michael Twery at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. "It raises the levels of stress hormones. It tells our heart to work harder."

    So the heart is working harder than it should, every night.

    "And it's constantly exposing us, night after night, to periods of insufficient oxygen where the level in our blood will actually decrease to levels that would be considered a medical emergency," Twery adds.

    He likens the effect of sleep apnea to that of racing a car engine for prolonged periods of time. It wears the engine out prematurely. "Our heart becomes overworked and we become more vulnerable to heart attack."

    And stroke. Twery oversaw a study of about 9,000 people who had sleep apnea, but did not have cardiovascular disease. The researchers followed them over a nine-year period. Then they analyzed the data.

    "They found that men can experience up to a three-fold increased risk of stroke," says Twery, "and that risk seemed to be well correlated with the severity of their sleep apnea."

    The next step in the research is to find out if people who have already had a stroke or heart attack can lessen their risk of having another one by using a machine like this while they sleep. It has a mask that is hooked up to a motor that delivers constant air into the throat and lungs, making it impossible to experience apnea.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora