Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sleep apnea and dementia

It is bad enough that sleep apnea robs you of your sleep and makes your life more miserable than you could ever imagine but the thought of it causing dementia is really maddening.

Certainly the worse result of sleep apnea is the damage that it does to your heart by not allowing the oxygen to move freely inside you. And diabetes, gout, dizziness, depression, high blood pressure can also be caused by sleep apnea and they are serious problems also. Dementia is something that I didn’t connect with sleep apnea. But it seems that brain functions can be affected by sleep apnea too. I am sure that the lack of oxygen to the brain can cause many problems.

A study was done with nursing home residents where there seemed to be a connection between Obstructive sleep apnea and dementia. Of course the question that I have is does this mean that long term sleep apnea patients are heading toward dementia. And what if you are cured of your sleep apnea (cpap, surgery) after suffering with it for many years is it too late to reverse the damage done?

Something else to consider is that dementia itself has been known to be the cause of sleep problems such as waking in the middle of the night and not being able to fall asleep.

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