Most of us do not take snoring as a matter of grave concern. But snoring can be a symptom of a serious sleep disorder called central sleep apnea(CSA). Well, what happens in sleep apnea? People suffering of it encounter disruption in breath for short intervals during sleep. This is caused because brain stops sending signals to the muscles that control breathing. Recent research in medical sciences has inferred that CSA can result in dementia. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association central sleep apnea can cause hypoxemia (a drop in the level of oxygen in the blood) that can result in cognitive decline and dementia.
Irregular breathing can cause cognitive impairment
How does Sleep Apnea Cause Dementia?
Doctors have long suspected a link between central sleep apnea and dementia. But they did not have a concrete proof to substantiate it. A study conducted by Dr. Kristine Yaffe of the University of California, San Francisco found that older people suffering of sleep disorders related to breathing contracted mild cognitive impairment over a period time. In addition to this, researchers have found that cognitive decline is related to hypoxemia rather than disrupted sleep directly. Another study found that this cognitive deterioration due to CSA also results from brain shrinkage in the left hippocampus and other regions responsible memory creation. A patient of CSA breathes shallow or pauses breathing for some time during sleep. This phase may last for 10 to 20 seconds. This can occur for 30 times per hour in severe case of CSA. Irregular breathing affects a normal oxygen circulation in the critical areas of brain. This causes hypoxia that kills the brain cells and results in dementia.
Combatting Central Sleep Apnea will Combat Dementia
If you have a severe case of central sleep apnea, you should mandatorily see a doctor. But you can initiate certain practices at home. CSA is generally found in people with cardiac disease. Curing it will alleviate the symptoms of central sleep apnea as well. You should not take any sedatives under CSA. Physical activity is very important. Doctors will surely recommend wearing CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) and BiPAP(Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure) masks that are connected with a machine that gives air through the nasal tract to the differnt areas of the brain.
CSA can compound to dementia
Final Words on Sleep Apnea and Dementia
I hope this article on central sleep apnea and dementia was helpful to you and wish you luck in finding good riddance over both.