Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a breathing disorder that causes persons to stop breathing hundreds of times during the night. This reduces the oxygen levels to the brain, which eventually cause memory problems.1 Untreated sleep apnea doubles a person’s Alzheimer’s disease risk.2 A Mayo Clinic patient with concentration issues was diagnosed with sleep apnea, and within a year of treatment, the patient’s neuropsychological tests were in the normal range.3
Some risk factors for sleep apnea are excess weight, family history, being male, smoking, nasal congestion from allergies, and having a narrow throat.4 Women are often under diagnosed.5 Untreated sleep apnea can also lead to daytime fatigue, high blood pressure, stroke, heart problems, and diabetes.6 Loud snoring is a symptom of OSA so anyone who snores loudly should be screened for sleep apnea.
1 Common Sleep Problem Linked to Dementia, https://www.alzinfo.org/articles/common-sleep-problem-linked-dementia/
2Daniel G. Amen, Use Your Brain to Change Your Age, Crown Archetype, NY, NY, 2012 Page 39.
3Sleep Apnea Disguised as Dementia, Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, October 6, 2011, http://www.aadsm.org/articles.aspx?id=2634
4Mayo Clinic Staff, Sleep Apnea, Mayo Clinic Website, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/basics/risk-factors/con-20020286
5Sleep Apnea Disguised as Dementia, American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine
Thursday, October 6, 2011, http://www.aadsm.org/articles.aspx?id=2634|
6Mayo Clinic Staff, Sleep Apnea, Mayo Clinic Website, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/basics/complications/con-20020286
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