Expert Advice: How sleep apnea increases stroke risk
Host Amber Smith: Here's some expert advice from Dr. Hesham Masoud from Upstate Medical University: How does sleep apnea increase stroke risk?
Hesham Masoud, MD: What is sleep apnea? It's obstructive. So, sleep apnea essentially means that you're not breathing during sleep. And obstructive means it's due to some sort of obstruction. When you can't breathe, what happens? Your blood pressure gets up, right? And so now you're going to have these spikes in blood pressure that are happening multiple times, right? You're also going to have your brain not get oxygenated well, multiple times. And so these things can cause types of disease and stroke risk just from elevating a risk of something like high blood pressure manifesting to real dysfunction levels. And it can also be associated with heart rhythm irregularities. And one of the big ones is atrial fibrillation for stroke where the heart beats or fibrillates in a way where you get some turbulence of blood flow, and that turbulence sort of activates clotting, and then that clot gets plumped out by the heart, which is pumped to organs and then gets carried to the brain. And so that's another way for that risk to potentially be a little bit higher with sleep apnea. So, multiple, multiple ways.
Host Amber Smith: You've been listening to stroke neurologist Hesham Masoud, MD, from Upstate Medical University.