The best time to get your sleep apnea treated is as soon as possible. Sleep apnea treatment can potentially reduce your risk of many serious health consequences such as heart attack or stroke.
But that doesn’t mean it’s too late to benefit from sleep apnea treatment if you have a stroke. In fact, there are many good reasons to seek out treatment for sleep apnea after a stroke. It can significantly improve recovery and minimize further damage to the brain.
Sleep Apnea Impacts Recovery from Stroke
The negative consequences of sleep apnea don’t stop with a stroke. In fact, sleep apnea can be even more damaging after stroke, and can contribute to a poor stroke recovery. The ultimate effect can be dependency, disability, or even death.
When you experience apnea after a stroke, your brain continues to suffer damage. These episodes can reduce blood flow in the brain, diminish the brain’s access to oxygen, and cause transient and long-term increases in blood pressure. This damages the area of the brain already hurt by the stroke, and can even extend damage in the brain. This brain damage can extend the hospital stay and reduce the chances for good recovery.
And once a stroke patient has left the hospital, they can still experience the negative effects of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can make it harder to participate in rehabilitation therapy because of poor memory, reduced cognitive ability, decreased concentration and daytime sleepiness.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Can Improve Recovery
And treating sleep apnea can improve recovery. Several studies have shown that sleep apnea treatment can help reduce impairment, depression, and, of course, daytime sleepiness.
Perhaps most importantly, sleep apnea treatment can extend the time before there’s a recurrence of cardiovascular problems, including another stroke.
But there are also obstacles to treating sleep apnea. CPAP is of course the most commonly prescribed treatment for sleep apnea, but compliance can be even more of a challenge with victims recovering from stroke.
In some cases, oral appliances may be a better solution, but it will have to be considered on a case-by-case basis to determine which is the best sleep apnea treatment for you or your loved one.
To learn more about the benefits of sleep apnea treatment after stroke or find the right treatment for you or a loved one, please call (201) 343-4044 today for an appointment with sleep dentist Dr. Marlen Martirossian at River Edge Dental, New Jersey’s center for TMJ, sleep apnea & reconstructive dentistry.
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