When it comes to the side-effects of untreated sleep apnea, there are a number of well-known risks, such as the increased risk of hypertension, greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as other risks. However, recent research has begun to uncover a connection between untreated sleep apnea and increased dementia.
Studies Link Sleep Apnea To Increased Dementia Risks
Here at ApneaMed, we do our best to stay on top of the latest research when it comes to sleep apnea. The studies which link sleep apnea to increased risks of developing dementia are still limited in scope, based on the number of participants and repeated trials. Yet, we wanted you to be aware of these early findings.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at the connection between sleep disruptions and cognitive impairment in senior women. As many studies on sleep apnea focus on men, this study is also unique for having exclusively female participants.
In this study, 298 women were tested for sleep-disordered breathing. None of the participants had dementia at the time of testing, and 105 of the participants had sleep-disordered breathing issues. Almost five years since their initial testing, women who had sleep apnea were 13.7% more likely to have experienced cognitive decline or dementia than other participants that didn't have sleep apnea.
Another, more recent study, authored in part by the Mayo Clinic, found a protein marker that is linked to Alzheimer's disease in the brains of those who had sleep disruptions. The participants in this study were 65 years old or older, and none of them had any cognitive impairment. Yet, in the participants who had untreated obstructive sleep apnea had higher amounts of tau markers—which is the protein marker that creates tangles in the brain.
While the tau markers are linked to Alzheimer's disease, so far, the participants are not cognitively impaired. The researchers haven't determined if the levels of tau proteins cause sleep apnea, or if sleep apnea causes higher levels of tau markers in the brain. However, with the proper testing and treatment, you can mitigate many of the risks associated with sleep apnea.
Early Testing And Intervention Can Decrease Sleep Apnea Complications
When it comes to sleep apnea, early intervention is the key to enjoying the best possible results. Yet, many people may believe that they have to jump through a series of medical hoops to even get a doctor to order a sleep study for them.
Recognizing and having your sleep apnea diagnosed doesn't have to be difficult. With modern medical advances, you can test yourself for obstructive sleep apnea from the comfort of your home. All you need to do is order our home sleep apnea test.
Once your test is completed, you will send the kit and data back to us, and our board-certified sleep physicians will review your sleep data. In just a few days after your data is reviewed, our doctors will be able to give you a diagnosis.
From there, if you do have sleep apnea and are in need of treatment, you can simply order your own sleep apnea treatment devices, like the AutoPAP and other CPAP accessories. You don't need a doctor's authorization to order a home sleep apnea test or an AutoPAP machine for your obstructive sleep apnea treatment.
It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to suspected sleep apnea. So, instead of wondering if your sleep issues are due to obstructive sleep apnea, order a home sleep apnea test today.