Can Sleep Apnea cause strokes?

by Laura

My brother in law had a stroke and they are thinking it could be caused by sleep apnea. Is this true?


The most dangerous side effects of sleep apnea are heart attacks and strokes.

I will explain to you in a simple, non-technical way, how can a stroke and a heart attack appear in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

While sleeping, your heart should be resting, at least beating slower. But with sleep apnea, the brain (noticing a lack of oxygen) instructs the heart to beat faster to get oxygen carrying blood to the brain.

Say someone with an AHI of 30, means this instruction is going through 30 times an hour: heart beating faster than it should 30 times an hour.

Some people have an AHI well in excess of 30 so you can see how the problem exacerbates.

This extra workload creates additional strain on the heart and can lead to an enlarged heart, or a heart attack or both. It can also lead to Congestive Heart Failure, as a complicating factor.

Stroke is another story and usually involves either insufficient blood (oxygen) getting to the brain or a sudden burst of blood to the brain, which will find any weakness in the blood vessels, resulting in leakage an/or stroke.

If there is a sudden blast of oxygen carrying blood to the brain 30 or more time an hour, you can see where problems can arise.

With all this extra activity going on, while you should be achieving rest, the health problems do mount.

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Sleep Apnea Help Line.

Affiliate Disclosure
This website is supported only from the commission received from affiliate products.
If you make a purchase through a link on this page,
I may receive a small commission - at no extra cost to you.
Thank you for helping me to keep and improve my site!

Latest Updates

  1. Can I Die If The CPAP Power Goes Out?

    If you're worried that you may suffocate in your sleep if the CPAP shuts off during a power outage, then this page is for you. The following question

    Read More

  2. A Long Journey To A Better Life

    I was in my late teens or so when I discovered I had a severe snoring issue — my friends told me about it — I admit I was living a very unhealthy lifestyle

    Read More

  3. CPAP Gas Problem - Aerophagia?

    I get a tremendous amount of gas every morning from my CPAP machine, so much so that I do not want to continue using it. Neither the company I got the

    Read More

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Sleep Apnea Info.
Share This Site

Email; Contact UsContact Us