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Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) increases the risk of stroke independent of known vascular and metabolic risk factors. Although patients with OSA have higher prevalence of hypertension and evidence of hypercoagulability, the mechanism of this increased risk is unknown. Obstructive apnea events are associated with surges in blood pressure, hypercapnia, and fluctuations in cerebral blood flow. These perturbations can adversely affect the cerebral circulation.
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