There are about 5.8 million people living with Alzheimer’s Disease at this moment. Given the overwhelming number of people struggling with this debilitating affliction, it’s hard to even imagine how many other lives are touched by Alzheimer’s on a daily basis. Children, adult children, caregivers, dear friends, partners… It can be tough to find glimmers of hope in this statistical landscape.
New science suggests that the onset of Alzheimer’s could be linked to sleep apnea. A team of scientists studied* 208 men and women aged 55 to 90, most of whom had sleep apnea but did not have any type of diagnosed dementia. After two years, the scientists found that those who suffered from more severe sleep apnea had certain chemical markers in their spinal fluid indicating increased levels of beta amyloid, a type of brain plaque associated with Alzheimer’s. In addition, brain imaging scans in some of the more severe apnea patients confirmed an increase in amyloid plaque.
So where’s the glimmer of hope in this connection between sleep apnea and Alzheimer’s? What can you do? Quite a bit, actually. It turns out that many people don’t actually know they suffer from sleep apnea. So if you know you have sleep apnea, that’s great, and it’s time to get care from a professional. If you ave, and you’re not happy with your CPAP machine, there are other great options and Dr. Bez can help.
The important part is to do something. The health risks of untreated sleep apnea can be severe—and now even more so. If you or a loved one seems to be suffering from disrupted sleep, please do call our office to see how we can help!
* The study was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care.