Sleep Apnea Significantly Increases Risk for Stroke and Death

Armen Hareyan's picture

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea, a condition where people stop breathing repeatedly while asleep, increases the risk of stroke and death, according to a study from Yale School of Medicine published November 10 in the New England Journal of Medicine.


Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of long-term disability. Some of the known risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, and high cholesterol. This study discovered sleep apnea as a new risk factor for stroke.

The lead author of the study, H. Klar Yaggi, M.D., assistant professor of medicine in the section of pulmonary critical care medicine, said, "Our study shows that sleep apnea doubles the risk for the development of stroke and death, and severe sleep apnea more than triples the risk. We found that this risk was independent of other risk factors, including high blood pressure."

Sleep apnea affects as many as one in five adults in the United States. Common symptoms include daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, and pauses in breathing while asleep