Sleep Disorders May Increase Stroke Risk: Study

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Sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea may increase the risk of stroke and hinder recovery from the condition, new research has warned.

Based on literature review, the researchers recommend that people who have had a stroke or a mini-stroke, called a transient ischemic attack, be screened for sleep disorders.

“Although sleep disorders are common after a stroke, very few stroke patients are tested for them,” said Dirk M Hermann, from the University Hospital Essen in Germany.

“The results of our review show that should change, as people with sleep disorders may be more likely to have another stroke or other negative outcomes than people without sleep problems, such as having to go to a nursing home after leaving the hospital,” said Hermann.

The researchers also recommend that sleep apnea be treated with a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP), based on evidence that shows that its use can improve outcomes after stroke.

For the review, the researchers examined dozens of studies that looked at the link between sleep disturbances and stroke.

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They then combined the data of multiple studies in a meta-analysis.