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Sleep disorders and breathing interruptions increase the risk of stroke


Insomnia and breathing interruptions pose a health hazard
People who have sleep problems appear to have an increased risk of stroke. This emerges from a new study by the University of Duisburg-Essen, which was recently published in the US journal "Neurology". According to this, the subsequent recovery phase after a stroke was less favorable than in other patients due to insomnia or breathing interruptions at night. These correlations would make it clear that those affected must be examined for sleep disorders, according to study director Prof. Dirk M. Hermann.

A lack of night's sleep puts a strain on the body and mind
According to the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, around 10 to 15 percent of the population in this country suffer from a chronic or disturbed sleep disorder. Affected people lie awake for hours, cannot fall asleep, keep rolling from right to left or are constantly startled. Instead of relaxing rest, there is pure stress and the next morning you neither feel rested nor efficient.

Insomnia and sleep apnea have different effects
Sleep disorders are not only very stressful for the psyche, but can also be dangerous for the body. This is confirmed by a new study by Prof. Hermann, holder of the chair for vascular neurology, dementia and aging research at the Medical Faculty of the University of Duisburg-Essen at the University Hospital Essen. According to the press release from the university, insomnia or breathing interruptions apparently lead to an increased risk of stroke and to an unfavorable course of the recovery process after a stroke.

The two phenomena are different types of sleep disorders: In the case of sleep-related breathing disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea, breathing is interrupted again and again during sleep. Sleep-wake disorders such as insomnia or the so-called “restless legs syndrome”, on the other hand, affect the total length of sleep, the university informs.

Stroke patients are examined too rarely
Prof. Hermann, together with Claudio L. Bassetti, director of the Clinic for Neurology at the Inselspital Bern, examined the current data on the relationships between sleep disorders and stroke. It was confirmed that those affected should definitely be examined for sleep problems. The same applies to people with a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a temporary circulatory disorder of the brain, which often occurs as a harbinger of a "large" stroke.

So far, such examinations have been carried out too rarely - although stroke patients often suffer from sleep problems, the university reports. "Since they often have another stroke or recover less well from it, patients with sleep disorders or sleep-related breathing disorders, for example, have to be transferred to a nursing home more often than other patients after a stroke," explains study author Professor Hermann.

Breathing masks can help
However, targeted measures could have a positive impact on the course of the disease. According to the experts, sleep apnea patients could be given special breathing masks that prevent breathing interruptions. With sleep-wake disorders, depending on the severity, e.g. low-dose antidepressants or stimulants are used. However, medical advice is required in any case, because there is a very high risk of dependency, especially with sleeping pills.

A healthy lifestyle promotes good sleep
A healthy lifestyle and the absence of late meals, coffee, nicotine, alcohol and intensive sports in the evening are conducive to a restful sleep. If you observe regular sleep times and reduce your weight in the case of overweight, you can provide a significant improvement in sleep.

Instead of using sleeping pills or sedatives, various home remedies can also help with sleep disorders. For example, a calming tea made from passion flower or chamomile has proven itself to relieve tension and alleviate inner unrest. Relaxation techniques such as autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation can also be very effective. (No)

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