This Morning: Dr Ranj discusses sleep apnoea
Professor Elizabeth Coulson, and her team from the University of Queensland’s brain institute and school of biomedical, pointed out that OSA deprives the brain of oxygen.
As such, the consequences can be dire, with the research linking OSA to dementia.
OSA is when a person’s breathing stops and starts while you sleep, the NHS explains.
Symptoms while sleeping can include:
- Breathing stopping and starting
- Making gasping, snorting or choking noises
- Waking up a lot
- Loud snoring.
During the day, a person affected by the condition may:
- Feel very tired
- Find it hard to concentrate
- Have mood swings
- Have a headache when you wake up.
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The health body warns: “Sleep apnoea needs to be treated because it can lead to more serious problems.”
OSA is a common condition, estimated to affect 1.5 million adults in the UK, Asthma and Lung UK notes.
Concerningly, up to 85 percent of people are undiagnosed, so if you identify with any of the symptoms, or know someone who does, a doctor’s appointment is recommended.
Treatment might involve lifestyle adjustments, such as losing weight, not smoking, and reducing the amount of alcohol consumed.
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However, for some, they might benefit from a CPAP machine that gently pumps air into a mask that covers the mouth and nose while sleeping.
Professor Coulson said: “We developed a novel way to induce sleep-disrupted breathing and found the mice displayed exacerbated pathological features of Alzheimer’s disease.
“It demonstrated that hypoxia – when the brain is deprived of oxygen – caused the same selective degeneration of neurons that characteristically die in dementia.”
The progressive condition is the most common cause of dementia in the UK, the NHS adds.
The signs of Alzheimer’s disease gradually become more apparent as time goes on.
“The first sign of Alzheimer’s disease is usually minor memory problems,” the health body says.
As the condition develops, additional symptoms will appear, such as:
- Confusion, disorientation and getting lost in familiar places
- Difficulty planning or making decisions
- Problems with speech and language
- Problems moving around without assistance or performing self-care tasks
- Personality changes, such as becoming aggressive, demanding and suspicious of others
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there) and delusions (believing things that are untrue)
- Low mood or anxiety.
Anybody suspecting the early signs of dementia should book an appointment with their doctor.
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