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Understanding the Relationship Between Sleep Apnea & Alzheimer's Disease

Patients with untreated sleep apnea suffer from disrupted sleep that can severely impact many aspects of their lives. In fact, recent studies have found a relationship between sleep disturbances such as sleep apnea and Alzheimer's1. Sleep is a vital factor in the healthy functioning of the body and mind. When the brain is unable to complete normal maintenance during sleep, certain toxic materials remain that can contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease. Improving your sleeping habits could help slow or even prevent the development of dementia. Fortunately, with offices in Stratford, Guilford, and New Haven, CTAdvanced Dental Sleep Medicine can help you effectively manage your sleep-related breathing disorder. Our team can collaborate with other medical professionals to provide a diagnosis and find the best treatment for your condition.

Medical professional looking at brain scans

Sleep is a vital factor in the healthy functioning of the body and mind. 

What is Dementia & Alzheimer's Disease?

Dementia classifies a group of brain-related diseases that severely affect cognitive abilities and memory function. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. The progressive brain disorder is characterized by amyloid plaques (sticky buildup surrounding nerve cells), loss of connections between nerve cells, and tangled bundles of fiber known as tau. Common effects of this disease include: 

  • Memory loss
  • Language problems
  • Confusion
  • Loss of control of bodily functions
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Hallucinations
  • Unpredictable behavior
  • Difficulty sleeping 

While these effects may be less obvious in early stages, as the condition develops, symptoms will become more severe and start to cause problems performing daily activities. 

Why is Sleep Vital to Healthy Brain Function? 

Lack of sleep can significantly impact cognitive function2. Conditions such as sleep apnea regularly disrupt sleep, which prevents the body from performing vital functions like consolidating memories. Patients with sleep-related breathing disorders often exhibit signs of brain cell damage and inflammation3, which can lead to memory loss. 

Researchers are finding that insufficient sleep appears to contribute to the build-up of tau proteins4. Additionally, the inability to rest at night often leads to daytime sleepiness, further straining brain health. If you are receiving the appropriate amount of sleep, the brain can clean out these toxic materials, including amyloid plaques. 

Reducing Your Risk

Individuals who have suffered from sleep apnea for an extended period of time most likely have not maintained a healthy sleep schedule. But by effectively treating your sleep apnea, you may be able to reduce your risk of dementia. 

Our team can treat your sleep-related breathing disorder so that you can actively prevent the condition from further impacting your life.

Dr. Reza Radmand and our team of dental sleep professionals can help patients with sleep apnea or snoring issues through conservative treatment. We provide oral appliance therapy at our facilities, a simple, comfortable method to open the airway and improve breathing while you sleep. To begin, we can refer you to a trusted medical professional for a proper diagnosis then work closely with you to find the best solution.

Guiding You to a Healthy Future

Do not allow disrupted sleep to diminish your quality of life. At Advanced Dental Sleep Medicine, we can treat your sleep apnea or other sleep-related breathing disorder so that you can actively prevent it from further impacting your life. Contact us online or call the location closest to you and schedule your screening today.

http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2017/07/05/WNL.0000000000004171

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656292/

3 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jsr.12392/full

4http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/8/338/338ra66

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