A new study has warned that persons with serious cases of sleep apnea-which is basically characterized by intense snoring accompanied by prolonged pauses in breathing (more than ten seconds)- have 2.5 times more the possibility of suffering an ischemic stroke.
This was confirmed in a study undertaken among 394 subjects aged 70 or more. "After studying the quality of their sleep, we tracked the volunteers over the course of six years. After which, 20 of the study subjects had suffered a stroke", Roberto Munoz, a physician of the Neurology Service of the Hospital Complex of Navarra.
Furthermore, he confirmed that in addition to the fact that sleep apnea affects above all persons of middle and advanced age-it is estimated that 5 percent of all adults suffer from it-this prevalence may significantly increase with age.
Among the predisposing factors for suffering this disorder, the expert emphasized obesity: "Therefore, one of the measures for avoiding the problem is losing weight."
"It is also a good idea to avoid sleeping face-upwards-since this position aids in the appearance of snoring-as well as quitting tobacco use and the excessive consumption of alcohol", adds Munoz. In the most serious cases, the treatment includes the nightly use of a pressurized air mask, although he emphasized that each patient should receive the treatment most appropriate for his or her case.
"Over the long term, in addition, the alterations in respiration can result in hypertension, cardiovascular problems, and finally in stroke; hence the importance of preventing it and treating it from its outset", concluded the expert.
The research was presented at the School of Medicine and the University of Navarra Hospital.