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Sleep apnea tied to increased risk of stroke
Date:4/7/2010

lapses of breathing during sleep affects our health and well being, but it can also provide important insight into how cardiovascular problems such as stroke and high blood pressure develop," noted Michael J. Twery, Ph.D., director of the NIH National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, an office administered by the NHLBI.

The new results support earlier findings that have linked sleep apnea to stroke risk. SHHS researchers have also reported that untreated sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, irregular heartbeats, heart failure, and death from any cause. Other studies have also linked untreated sleep apnea with overweight and obesity and diabetes. It is also linked to excessive daytime sleepiness, which lowers performance in the workplace and at school, and increases the risk of injuries and death from drowsy driving and other accidents.

More than 12 million American adults are believed to have sleep apnea, and most are not diagnosed or treated. Treatments to restore regular breathing during sleep include mouthpieces, surgery, and breathing devices, such as continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP. In people who are overweight or obese, weight loss can also help.

These treatments can help improve breathing and reduce the severity of symptoms such as loud snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness, thereby improving sleep-related quality of life and performance at work or in school. Randomized clinical trials to test whether treating sleep apnea lowers the risk of stroke, other cardiovascular diseases, or death are needed.

"We now have abundant evidence that sleep apnea is associated with cardiovascular risk factors and diseases. The next logical step is to determine if treating sleep apnea can lower a person's risk of these leading killers," said Redline. "With stimulus funds, our research group is now developing the additional research and resources to begin answering this i
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Contact: NHLBI Communications Office
nhlbi_news@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-496-4236
NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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