A new study backs up the association between CPAP therapy and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
A poor night’s sleep, as we all know, will mess with your mind the next day. It’s a little more extreme for the millions of Canadians who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Bad sleep is related to an increase in the presence of a protein that forms on the brain’s artery walls, as well as desaturated oxygen levels in the blood. These proteins are present to some degree in all brains, but one of the functions of safe, restorative sleep is to ‘clear’ them out.
They will build up over time, clumping together and forming plaque if you have chronically disrupted sleep (which is exactly what OSA is) (yep, think of that quasi-permanent formation that requires scraping at the dentist). This plaque then interrupts nerve cell connectivity, affecting the thought (cognitive capacity and executive function) as well as information retention (memory).
On the brain chemistry side of things, there are ongoing comprehensive studies that are looking into the already known similarities in brain-scan (PET) imaging of those with dementia and those who haven’t yet registered dementia symptoms but have had a late-life diagnosis of OSA (and therefore have a high likelihood of having been a long-term untreated sufferer).
The most recent study to be released took a different approach to the issue. The premise was rational. If condition X (sleep apnea) had been shown to be linked to the onset of condition Y (dementia), then would people who had been receiving treatment for condition X earlier in life be less likely to go on to develop the later-forming condition Y.
Will people who were already being treated for OSA with CPAP therapy (in the target older age groups) be less likely to experience dementia symptoms? The study’s conclusion was a resounding yes.
Its corroboration to the earlier study carries real clinical weight because it was large-scale in terms of scale and reach (it included over 50,000 people and spanned more than 3 years to provide a genuinely informative view of impacts over time).
It had the added benefit of demonstrating the effectiveness of the CPAP approach for treating OSA, in addition to reinforcing the emerging ties between sleep quality and dementia.
The harsh truth is that there is no cure for dementia, which is why you should talk to your doctor about having a sleep study done. Early detection and treatment may be able to delay cognitive impairment until it is too late, according to mounting evidence.
It is just a case of loud snoring – While not the whole description of Sleep Apnea, snoring is a component of it. Left untreated conditions may have negative effects on health, including an increased risk of heart issues and exhaustion, which can lead to irritability and lack of attention.