New York – Heavy snorers and people, with sleep apnea develop memory and thinking problems much earlier into their young age than their well-rested peers. This is according to a study that has been published in the journal Neurology.
Experts says that there is a strong link between sleep apnea and early dementia both lead to reduced blood flow to the brain hence the occurrence of the snoring disorder.
2,470 people of ages 55 and 90 were tested. Those found to be having disrupted breathing during sleep were said to be suffering from a mild cerebral impairment. The study revealed that the impairment may have started 10years earlier into those with the problem than in those who did not have the sleeping problem.
The earlier onset of Alzheimer’s disease was also linked to the sleep breathing issues. However, if the treatment of the sleeping issue is taken care of, there would be a reduced rate of the dementia.
According to Professor Ricardo Osorio who was leading the research, there is need to also increase awareness of how much more sleep disorders can increase the risk for cognitive impairment.
Osorio was however fast to clarify that the association between sleep disruption the mild mental impairment does not necessarily mean that sleep apnea or snoring caused the mental decline. Besides, it is not that everyone who suffers breathing problems will end up developing a brain disorder.
53 percent of men and 26 percent of women are the main culprits of Sleep apnea and heavy snoring. Professor Osorio said that Sleep apnea is underdiagnosed in the elderly but it is not recognized as a potential risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
While more that 18 million individuals in the US are said to have rest apnea, it becomes more common as people age along. That said, people dealing with older people should be conscious of sleep apnea in them. A screening on these people with apnea questions should be done on them.