Missing The Boat With Stroke and Sleep Apnea

Here's another large scale population-based research study that completely misses the boat. The INTERSTROKE study compared 3000 people with stroke with 3000 controls across 22 countries. The researchers concluded that hypertension appeared to be the strongest predictor of stroke, with a 2.64 increased odds ratio. Other factors included smoking, abdominal obesity, diet, exercise, alcohol, diabetes, depression, heart disease, and lipid problems. They note that 1/2 of these are modifiable.

We know from numerous past studies that obstructive sleep apnea increases your risk of stroke up to 3 times normal. If they had included obstructive sleep apnea in their list of risk factors, it would be at #1. Obstructive sleep apnea is a treatable condition. Unfortunately, it's estimated that 90% of sleep apnea is not diagnosed. It's likely that these people are being treated instead for their hypertension, elevated lipids, depression, heart disease, etc.

What this study implies is that more medications are needed to control hypertension. But we also know that obstructive sleep apnea is a major independent predictor or hypertension as well. Some researchers are saying that perhaps untreated obstructive sleep apnea is THE major cause of hypertension.


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