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Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Dementia / A Common Sleeping Disorder Could Increase the Risk of Dementia in Women

A Common Sleeping Disorder Could Increase the Risk of Dementia in Women

According to the August 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, elderly women who suffer from sleep apnea have 85 percent higher odds of developing dementia over the next five years. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder characterized by several instances of abnormal pauses in breathing and loud snoring during sleep. In order to be diagnosed with sleep apnea, a person must suffer 15 or more episodes of sleep apnea in a one-hour period. According to Dr. Susan Redline, repeated oxygen deprivation during sleep can affect the way in which the brain reproduces brain cells.

This study is a cause for concern because sleep-disordered breathing affects up to 60 percent of elderly people. If there is a correlation between sleep apnea and cognitive impairment, sleep apnea could turn into a major public health issue. However, it is unclear whether treating sleep-disorder breathing could actually reduce the risk of developing dementia later in life. According to Dr. Redline, while some studies have shown that several months of sleep apnea therapy can improve brain function, more complex studies still need to be done because researchers are not sure if sleep apnea leads to dementia or if dementia leads to sleep apnea.

If you or a loved one suffers from the symptoms of sleep apnea, it is important to contact your doctor immediately so you can discuss treatment options.

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