I have a number of patients who suffer from sleep apnea. It’s a serious condition with serious consequences.
Also read: Sleep Apnea Linked to Cancer
Sleep apnea occurs when blocked or restricted airways prevent air from entering the windpipe, causing people to gasp for air while they sleep. People who suffer from sleep apnea can experience:
- restless sleep
- excessive tiredness
- high blood pressure
- heart arrhythmias
… and now, according researchers, sleep apnea is also linked to dementia.
The link between sleep apnea and dementia is a relatively new development. While there have been a handful of studies on the matter, none has been so important as the latest one published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
A team of scientists studied the sleep habits and cognitive abilities of nearly 300 healthy women, average age 82. At their re-examination five years later, 45% of the women with sleep apnea showed signs of mild dementia, compared to 31% of those women who slept soundly. What’s interesting is after controlling for age, race, body mass index, education level, smoking status, the presence of diabetes or hypertension, and the use of antidepressants and other medicines, the women with sleep apnea at the start of the study were 85% more likely to have dementia after five years than those whose nighttime breathing was normal.
Scientists say that while this is just the first of many involved studies involving sleep apnea and dementia, patients should pay extra close attention to their sleep patterns as well as signs from their partners. The condition can affect anyone, at any age – but it is most common in the 45 – 56 age group.
Also read: Dental Devices #1 Solution for Sleep Apnea
Thankfully, sleep apnea can be treated easily, successfully and painlessly right in our dental office. We can fit you for a custom-made device, called the SonmoDent ® MAS, which is designed to hold your lower jaw forward while you sleep. This tightens the muscles of the upper airway for easier breathing. It’s comfortable and discreet!
Please give our office a call if you suspect sleep apnea is a problem for you or your partner. A little oral device may be all you need to save yourself from more severe sleep apnea-related conditions down the road.