The Relationship Between Sleep Apnea and Alzheimer’s Disease
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is a common condition, affecting about 936 million people worldwide and it is commonly seen in the older people. The condition is associated with a variety of neurological disorders such as dementia.
One study looked at how sleep apnea affects neurocognitive function. Researchers found that sleep apnea can interfere with the flow of oxygen to the brain, and that this may contribute to cognitive impairment. Another study found that sleep apnea is related to changes in biomarkers that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s. However, the study did not confirm whether the sleep apnea was the cause of the disease.
In one study, a team of scientists looked at 208 older adults. They performed several imaging scans, including PET scans and MRIs. Researchers found that amyloid plaques were more prevalent in severe apnea patients. Amyloid plaques are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s. When amyloid accumulates in the brain, it is toxic to brain cells. Therefore, researchers wanted to see if sleep apnea affected amyloid formation.
Sleep apnea is also associated with inflammation and vascular disease. According to a study published in the journal Sleep, sleep apnea may be a precursor to dementia. This type of disorder is caused by repeated collapses of the upper airway during sleep, which prevents the brain from receiving enough oxygen.
Studies on sleep apnea and dementia have also shown that untreated apnea increases a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke. During the day, apnea can increase the likelihood of excessive daytime sleepiness and high blood pressure. Those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea often experience other symptoms, including a decrease in concentration and an increase in snoring.
Currently, researchers are investigating the connection between obstructive sleep apnea and Alzheimer’s, and how it can be prevented. In addition, researchers are looking at the effect of sleep apnea on brain function and the rate of progression to dementia.
Researchers have also found that patients with obstructive sleep apnea have amyloid plaques in their brains. However, the link between the two disorders is complex and bidirectional. For example, patients with mild obstructive sleep apnea had increased levels of amyloid b, but those with severe sleep apnea had more amyloid plaques. Moreover, obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to other neurological disorders, including epilepsy, dementia, and a number of other conditions.
The association between obstructive sleep apnea and Alzheimer’s is still being investigated by researchers, but some researchers have already made significant progress. Specifically, researchers have identified that sleep apnea increases the presence of amyloid plaques in the brain, and that sleep apnea is a marker for early biomarker changes in Alzheimer’s.
Research has shown that untreated OSA may cause cognitive decline and stroke in the elderly. Also, patients with OSA are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease and are at increased risk for Alzheimer’s. Good news is that there are effective treatments available for OSA. These include positive airway pressure therapy, or CPAP therapy, by using a CPAP machine which may help reduce the risk of dementia and other sleep disorders. Researchers are working on early-stage human trials to determine if CPAP can reduce the risk of dementia.
Studies have shown that Alzheimer’s and obstructive sleep apnea are associated with one another. Contact The Air Station for details on CPAP therapy and OSA diagnosis if you suspect you have sleep disorders:
Company Name: The Air Station Malaysia
Address: Level 9 Menara Summit, Persiaran Kewajipan USJ 1, 47600 UEP Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia