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The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Alzheimer's Disease



Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common sleep-related breathing disorder, affecting about 30% of middle-aged males in Singapore. The condition is associated with a variety of neurological disorders, including dementia. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia.



OSA has been linked to other neurological disorders, including epilepsy, dementia, and a number of other conditions. Research has shown that untreated OSA is a risk factor for cognitive decline and stroke in the elderly. Additionally, patients with OSA are more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases and are at increased risk for Alzheimer's disease.




Several studies have shown that Alzheimer's disease and obstructive sleep apnea are associated with one another. One study looked at how sleep apnea affects neurocognitive function. Researchers found that sleep apnea can interfere with the flow of oxygen to the brain and that this may contribute to cognitive impairment. Another study found that sleep apnea is related to changes in biomarkers that are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.

Studies on sleep apnea and dementia have also shown that untreated apnea increases a person's risk of heart attack and stroke. During the day, sleep apnea can increase the likelihood of excessive daytime sleepiness and high blood pressure. Those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea often experience other symptoms, including a decrease in concentration and an increase in snoring.