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Treating Sleep Apnea May Reduce Dementia Risk


Dementia is a serious problem affecting upwards of 5 million Americans. Dementia is defined as the loss of cognitive function by the National Institute on Aging. Some of its hallmarks include trouble thinking, reasoning, and remembering to such a degree that it prevents the affected from being able to function as they did pre-dementia. Skills such as language, problem-solving, and focus may be affected by dementia. While dementia most frequently affects those over the age of 85, the National Institute on Aging stresses that it is not a normal part of aging.

While there is no one cause of dementia, diseases like Alzheimer’s are often to blame for it. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s there are certainly ways to reduce your risk. In fact, according to a new study, one such way to reduce Alzheimer’s disease risk may be the use of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy in patients who have sleep apnea.

That’s because in some studies, the presence of sleep apnea has been found to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s in patients who do not treat their sleep apnea. The problem is, CPAP therapy simply isn’t for everyone. Even those who have a machine prescribed for them often don’t use it. Some studies have shown that many CPAP users only use their machines for five hours or less per evening, a move which decreases its effectiveness and may even be responsible for increased BMI and body weight.

While the study did not address if treatments like Nightlase or MAD’s (mandibular advancement devices) these too can help you address sleep apnea symptoms and get a more restful night’s sleep. This, in turn, can help you reduce many of the risks associated with sleep apnea such as diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, depression, cognitive impairment, and of course, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Peterson offers solutions for sleep apnea in his clinic, including both MAD’s and the Nightlase treatment. To learn more about if either of these solutions is right for you and to potentially reduce the risk of dementia, please contact Dr. Peterson’s office and schedule a consultation today.

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