The connection between sleep apnea and Alzheimer’s progression has been widely discussed and studied over the years. A newer study linking the two, have experts believing that treating sleep apnea could slow the progression for those in the early stages of the incurable (as of yet!) disease.

Valuable studies released during the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London show more supporting evidence that sleep apnea actually does contribute to a greater risk of dementia. The research goes on to suggest that any sleep-disordered breathing may indeed expedite the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

This link between apnea, hypopnea and dementia has been identified before, with patients age being the most common explanation. This is because sleep-breathing problems tend to strike older adults on average. But this study also explains (and breaks down) the findings that sleep-disordered breathing leads to a buildup of a key marker for Alzheimer’s.

“There was speculation that the gene that puts you at risk for Alzheimer’s might also put you at a higher risk for sleep-disordered breathing,” says Megan Hogan, lead author on one of the new studies. Hogan and colleagues found that sleep-disordered breathing leads to a build up of brain beta-amyloid, one of the key markers for Alzheimer’s. A PET scan can identify the plaque, which starts to build up before symptoms of dementia even begin to show. The greater the build up, the greater the symptoms you will experience of the disease.

The good news, sleep apnea is a highly manageable disorder. Healthy sleep is indicative of a healthy being. We discuss this, and many other aspects related to the dental treatment of snoring and sleep apnea during our online lecture, Success in Sleep.

(References – AARP)

Learn more about sleep apnea comorbidities and managing your sleep apnea patients by attending an online CE seminar with HST America and Dr. Marty Lipsey, from Medical Billing for Dentists.  See our upcoming sleep seminar dates below:

HST America is dedicated to helping dentists implement a sleep program through our innovative ‘zero-dollar sleep protocol’ and concierge home sleep testing services.  To learn more about our Success in Sleep seminars, view our video below.

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