How Sleep Apnea Can Lead to Dementia
Sleep apnea is a common disorder that affects one-fifth of American adults. Despite this, the average person doesn't really know about this condition. A person with sleep apnea experiences obstructed breathing when he or she sleeps. Some symptoms include loud snoring or snorting during sleep and long breathing pauses. Let your Houston dentist know if you are experiencing this because if the disorder is not treated, it can pose risks to the sufferer including absentmindedness, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and even sudden death.
Recently, a study found that sleep apnea is linked to dementia in elderly women whose conditions have been long-term and untreated. The study also found that dementia is twice as likely to develop in individuals who suffer from sleep apnea than those without it. There was no relation found between mental impairment and the total length of sleep or the how many times sleep is disrupted, however, they found a consistent connection between hypoxia and mental deterioration.
What is hypoxia? This refers to the reduction of the supply of oxygen to the brain. In sleep apnea, hypoxia is due to the disruptions in the sufferer's breathing. These disruptions happen repeatedly during sleep and for a sustained period of time during which the brain is receiving very little oxygen, a state which evidently is connected to the development of dementia.
What is clear is how sleep plays an important role in the long-term health of the brain. While not everyone who snores should be heading to a sleep lab to be monitored, consider being evaluated for cognitive symptoms if you know you have sleep apnea. If you strongly suspect that you do have the condition, you can start by consulting with your dentist in Houston Texas who can guide you in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is treatable so there is no reason to ignore it and put your long-term mental health at risk.