Obstructive sleep apnea and stroke: Links to health disparities

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a novel cardiovascular and cerebrovascular risk factor that presents unique opportunities to understand and reduce seemingly intractable stroke disparity among non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanic/Latinos. Individuals from these 2 groups have up to a 2-fold risk of stroke and greater burden of OSA. Obstructive sleep apnea directly and indirectly increases risk of stroke through a variety of autonomic, chemical, and inflammatory mechanisms and vascular risk factors such as hypertension, obesity, and diabetes mellitus. Untreated OSA exacerbates poststroke prognosis, as it may also influence rehabilitation efforts and functional outcomes such as cognitive function after a stroke. Conversely, treatment of OSA may reduce the risk of stroke and may yield better poststroke prognosis. Unfortunately, in racial/ethnic minority groups, there are limited awareness, knowledge, and screening opportunities for OSA. Increasing awareness and improving screening strategies for OSA in minorities may alleviate stroke risk burden and improve stroke outcomes in these populations. This review article is intended to highlight the epidemiology, clinical characteristics, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of OSA in relation to stroke risk, with an emphasis on race-ethnic disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-248
Number of pages5
JournalSleep Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Black
  • Health disparities
  • Hispanics/Latinos
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Sleep duration
  • Stroke
  • Vascular cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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