Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing stops and restarts many times during sleep, leading to serious side effects that may include sleepiness during the day, insomnia at night, and difficulty with focus and attention.
While we sleep, our brain is busy processing the information we’ve learned that day and converting short-term occurrences into long-term memories.
Beyond these effects, though, research indicates that the breathing interruptions that occur during sleep apnea actually can cause brain damage.
While sleep apnea leads to a variety of complications, diagnosing and treating the disease as early as possible can help limit these detrimental effects. A panel of scientists from the New York University recently discovered that people who developed various sleeping disorders, such as sleep apnea, often experience drastic cognitive deterioration and memory loss.
Same cognitive symptoms were observed to appear several years later in patients who do not suffer from sleeping disorders. Professor Osorio explained that a lot of the population is still ignorant about the possible link between sleep disorders and the increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s in the nearer future. In order for a sleep apnea diagnosis to be called, the patient usually experiences episodes when they stop breathing for up to 10 seconds. In general, sleep problems are common among a lot of people, but this study, in particular, focused on sleep apnea – which only affects less than 5 percent.

When sleep is disrupted by sleep apnea or another type of sleep disorder, these long-term memories are not formed correctly, if at all. The study, performed by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, used brain scans to show that the part of the brain that stores memories actually shrinks over time in people with sleep apnea. These structures, which store memory, are 20 percent smaller in people with sleep apnea than in those without.
If you experience excessive sleepiness during the day, your partner notices you snore, and you have headaches and trouble focusing, talk with your doctor about sleep apnea testing.
Sleep apnea is a phenomenon that occurs when airways are somehow obstructed, often causing snoring.
Therefore, the intermittent deprivation of oxygen (hypoxia) caused by sleep apnea could very likely present an additional risk factor. They underwent various tests which showed that participants who suffered from disrupted breathing during sleep developed first stages of cerebral impairment almost a decade before those who did not. However, in the light of the new study, researchers believe treating sleep apnea could also help reduce the ever-growing rate of dementia.
That’s why he supports raising the awareness over this important health issue, even though experts admit there is very little evidence that treating sleep disorders causes a significant drop.

More than 20 percent of the general population experiences breath problems during sleep – with men and older adults being more prone to developing such issues.
This sleep disorder was previously linked to higher blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks and sometimes diabetes. It is also important to note that snoring might be caused by sleep apnea, but it is not the cause in all people who snore. However, in addition to these dangers, recent research shows that untreated sleep apnea can have a detrimental effect on long-term memory. This damage leads to the memory problems associated with the disease that can persist even after it’s treated. Specialists believe they have pinned down the connection between this sleep disorder and early dementia signals: reduced blood flow to the brain. The brain needs a constant, good supply of oxygen, and studies have already shown a healthy intake of oxygen is linked to a later appearance of memory loss and cognitive problems.

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