Sleep Disordered-breathing and Dementia

We have written articles before discussing the increased coincidence of untreated sleep apnea and Alzheimer’s Disease.  Now, in research out of the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference we learn more about how untreated Sleep Apnea increases the symptoms of both dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.  You can find the full article by clicking this LINK.

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The research study has shown that sleep apnea, when left untreated increases the likelihood of a person developing mild to severe dementia.  If left untreated, the dementia progresses to Alzheimer’s Disease much more rapidly than when a person doesn’t have sleep apnea or when a person treats their sleep apnea.

Further, the research has gone so far as to state a likely mode of disease.  When a person suffers from sleep apnea, their brain doesn’t get enough rest for their body to rid their brains of beta-amyloid.  The beta-amyloid is a plaque buildup associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.  Beta-amyloid buildups are the characteristic trait of Alzheimer’s Disease patients. The Alzheimer’s Association Chief Scientist said, “sleep apnea actually accelerated the movement into mild cognitive impairment diagnosis for individuals who had been cognitively healthy just a few years prior.”  

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Overall, the article paints an unpleasant picture for individuals who suffer with undiagnosed and untreated sleep-disordered breathing.  Once dementia sets in, if left untreated, the plummet to full cognitive impairment can be swift and isn’t reversible.  So, if you or someone you know has or thinks they have sleep disordered breathing make sure they get tested soon!  If you or someone you know is prescribed CPAP therapy make sure they stick with their therapy regimen and hopefully they’ll avoid the negative side effects of cognitive impairment associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.