Research around Alzheimer’s disease continues to advance. It seems that every year we are closer to understanding more about Alzheimer’s and other conditions. In fact, research has found that decades before symptoms of the disease are detected, molecular changes are present in the brain. We also know that there are links between Alzheimer’s and sleep apnea.

What is the link?

This might sound confusing, but bear with us on this explanation. Researchers note that clumps of amyloid-beta and tangles of another protein called “tau” begin to accumulate in places. This signals a gradual decline in the brain’s health.

Alzheimer-like amyloid plaques have also been discovered in brain tissue samples of people with obstructive sleep apnea. This has signals a connection between sleep apnea and Alzheimers. 

It means that if you have sleep apnea in mid-life, you are most likely to develop Alzheimer’s when you are older. And if you have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you are then also more likely to have sleep apnea than other people your age.

If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, you can experience shortfalls in memory, which is a classic symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. You may also have a higher risk of developing dementia. Additionally, sleep deprivation in older adults has also been linked to elevated levels of amyloid plaques and tau tangles, which are characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease. This may signal the impact of sleep and its role in cleaning the brain of proteins and other waste products that accumulate during the day.

As we continue to learn more, it is important to visit us at AZ Sleep & TMJ Solutions in Scottsdale. We can work with you to determine the best course of treatment for sleep apnea to prevent the development of further complications.