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10:05 AM Mon, Sept. 24th

Rosenberg: Stroke, sleep apnea can go hand in hand

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My dad had a stroke a few months ago. He was diagnosed after the stroke with sleep apnea. He rarely uses his machine. Is there anything I could tell him that might motivate him to use it?

A: Yes, most definitely. A study published this month in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine showed that 60 percent of stroke patients have significant sleep apnea. When followed over a one-year period, 3 percent of those treated for sleep apnea have a recurrent stroke. Those who were not treated had a 15 percent incidence of recurrent stroke in the first year. This is a very impressive study and should be used to encourage those with stroke and sleep apnea to be treated.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My dad was diagnosed with narcolepsy. My son is 22 and complains of being tired. I’m wondering if there is a hereditary link in families.

A: Actually, there is but not that strong. The incidence in primary family members is about 1 in 100.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

I was recently diagnosed with sleep apnea. I am thinking about getting an oral appliance for my sleep apnea. Can you give me some idea of the success rate with these?

A: Yes, providing you are considering a custom-made oral appliance from a dentist. Recent studies have shown the success rate to be 70 to 80 percent. The same cannot be said for the commonly advertised online devices. You should seek out a dentist with expertise in the field — a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine is a good place to look.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

I have had problems falling and staying asleep for years. I’ve tried several prescription and OTC sleep medications. I’m wondering about medical marijuana. What do you think?

A: Many people smoke marijuana for sleep. However, there is a potential down side. If you do it chronically and then stop, you may experience vivid dreams and nightmares, as well as worse insomnia for up to 45 days. There are however, several studies demonstrating that cannabidiol, a cannabis derivative in the form of oils, is effective. The other advantage of cannabidiol is that it is non-psychoactive and therefore does not produce a high. It is the THC that does that.

Dr. Robert Rosenberg, board-certified sleep medicine specialist, will answer readers’ questions by incorporating them in future columns. Contact him through the form at www.answersforsleep.com or via mail at the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley, 3259 N. Windsong Drive, Prescott Valley, AZ 86314.