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Is Dementia in Women Related to Sleep Apnea


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Recently, there has been news within the world of sleep medicine, and specifically with regards to sleep apnea.  A study has just been released which shows a link between older women who have sleep disordered breathing and dementia.  What is even more interesting about these new findings is that many doctors are starting to realize how sleep apnea might affect more than just the breathing systems in our bodies, but also our brains.

When patients struggle throughout the night with blocked breathing in their airway, the loss of oxygen to the lungs makes it way into all parts of the body.  It has been clear for a long time that sleep apnea patients have a much higher risk of stroke, but dementia has not been looked at previously until now.  What is happening in the brain at night while it is being starved of oxygen due to a respiratory disturbance?  Is there a total shutdown of the brain while apnea events are taking place or is there something more going on?  This is not yet understood, but the evidence seems clear that with repeated blocks of oxygen to our bodies during sleep, problems may arise during the following days and months ahead.

I am sure that most sleep medicine professionals and sleep doctors would agree that this is not a total shock, a relationship of dementia and sleep apnea in older women.  But what is really interesting is that the founder of modern day sleep apnea is a famous doctor named Dr. Dement.

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