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Pulse Oximetry Could Predict Stroke

If you have sleep apnea, you may have heard that this sleep disorder can contribute to many comorbid conditions like depression, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and even stroke. While there are still many unanswered questions as to why these conditions so frequently appear in patients who suffer from sleep apnea, much is being done to understand these connections and hopefully find ways to treat each condition successfully.

Now, a new study which appeared in the American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine has revealed that pulse rate oximetry may someday be able to be used to predict stroke in sleep apnea patients with obstructive sleep apnea or OSA.

The study followed 6075 sleep apnea patients who had initially not suffered from stroke. Some of the study participants were treated for sleep apnea (2536) while some were not or chose to not use their sleep apnea therapy device (3539). After a follow up of participants after six and a half years, 459 of the participants had passed away, while 177 more had been diagnosed as having a stroke.

In the study, the researchers measured the participants pulse rate variability using overnight oximetry during a sleep study on patients with obstructive sleep apnea who had more than five sleep apnea events per sleep. What they found was that “Individuals with OSA, particularly those with severe disease, who demonstrate low sympathovagal balance (LF/HF) are at increased risk [for] stroke.”

Though the findings may be alarming, they offer hope that someday stroke may be prevented by helping to regulate sleep apnea. The study also shows that treating sleep apnea can be successful at reducing the patient’s risk of stroke.

If you suffer from sleep apnea or OSA specifically, addressing your sleep disorder could very well save your life. If you have been avoiding dealing with your sleep apnea due to displeasure with wearing an uncomfortable and complicated continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP mask, you are in luck! Dr. Peterson offers mandibular devices which can be custom fit to your mouth and work to open the airway while you sleep, eliminating the need for CPAP.

If you are interested in learning more about sleep orthotics, speak to Dr. Peterson today!

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