Sleep apnoea and the risk of Alzheimer’s


Sleep apnoea is a disorder characterised by excessive snoring that causes you to stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night. Usually, this is a warning for potential risk of diabetes or heart disease.

Obviously, both of these risks are reason enough to get your apnoea diagnosed and treated fast. But now it turns out there is another alarming reason why you’d want to get to the bottom of your sleep apnoea as soon as possible.

Take that snore seriously

If you haven’t taken your disruptive snoring seriously yet, I hope this news will finally do the trick.

A recent study evaluated 208 older participants (ages ranged between 55 and 90) who suffered with sleep apnoea but that had normal cognition. None of the subjects were depressed, or had any other conditions that could negatively affect their cognitive and brain function.

Researchers also looked at spinal fluid samples and PET scan results to measure amyloid biomarkers in the subjects’ brains. Their results showed that nearly 37 per cent of the subjects had mild sleep apnoea without realising it — while nearly 17 per cent had severe undiagnosed sleep apnoea. Of the total study pool, researchers followed 104 subjects for two years. And they found a direct correlation between severity of sleep apnoea and amyloid increases in the brain.

This isn’t the first time we’ve spoken about the alarming link between sleep apnoea and Alzheimer’s risk. And I don’t think it will be the last either. Since sleep apnoea is both common and woefully underdiagnosed among elderly patients these results (and highlighting them) is very important.

Estimates suggest that a whopping 30 to 80 per cent of elderly patients suffer from it. And given the clear link between apnoea and amyloid, there’s reason to believe that seeking treatment may at least help to delay Alzheimer’s onset.

And I think it’s safe to say that we need all the help we can get in this fight. Of course, addressing sleep apnoea is just one weapon in the ongoing battle against Alzheimer’s disease.

Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


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