Sleep apnea treatment is best undertaken as soon as possible. The serious risks associated with sleep apnea can be reduced or avoided with sleep apnea treatment undertaken early enough. This means, of course, a sleep apnea treatment that you actually use.
Increased stroke risk is one of the consequences of untreated sleep apnea. It’s hoped that you would get treatment for sleep apnea before you have a stroke.
But if you have a stroke, that doesn’t mean there’s no time for sleep apnea treatment. In fact, sleep apnea continues to impact your health after a stroke, and sleep apnea treatment can help improve your life and recovery following a stroke. A stroke is a warning sign, and you should heed it, in part, by getting sleep apnea treatment if necessary.
Sleep Apnea Effects After Stroke
Sleep apnea is associated with many characteristics that are indicative of poor recovery following stroke. Overall, people with sleep apnea are more likely to have poor functional outcome after stroke, leading to dependency or even death after a stroke.
There are many contributors to this poor recovery. One is the impact of apneic episodes on the brain after stroke. Apneic episodes reduce cerebral blood flow, reduce oxygen saturation, and can increase blood pressure, which can cause additional neurological injury, both in and around the area injured by the stroke. These changes in blood flow have been associated with extended hospitalization and poor outcomes generally.
Even once the stroke crisis has passed, sleep apnea can interfere with recovery. Stroke patients who are suffering from sleep apnea can have daytime sleepiness, reduced cognitive ability, poor memory, and decreased concentration. This can make it hard for people to participate in rehabilitation therapy.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Can Improve Recovery
It seems that treating sleep apnea after stroke can lead to some improvements in recovery. Some studies show that sleep apnea treatment after stroke can reduce impairment, sleepiness, and depression, while increasing motor recovery and the time until the occurrence of cardiovascular risks–including another stroke. CPAP is typically used for these trials, and the results are inconsistent in part because of poor CPAP adherence. If people are using CPAP, they have to work hard with doctors and nurses to ensure that they or their loved ones are using their CPAP.
If they cannot achieve good adherence, people have to consider CPAP alternatives such as oral appliances that can help, since the majority of stroke patients suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, not central sleep apnea.
Not all stroke patients may be good candidates for oral appliance therapy, but if you can’t achieve CPAP adherence, oral appliances are often a good alternative. For example, they’ve been proven as effective as CPAP for controlling blood pressure.
If you or a loved one is looking for sleep apnea treatment in Omaha, please call today for an appointment with sleep dentist Dr. Roger Roubal at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.