DEMENTIA AND SLEEP APNEA
STOPPING BREATHING WHILE SLEEPING WORSENS DEMENTIA, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Sleep apnea, where people cease breathing while they're asleep, is now known to accelerate the process of dementia, a large study reports. Seva Polotsky, a sleep apnea expert at Johns Hopkins, explains.
POLOTSKY: The study found that obstructive sleep apnea contributes significantly to progression of dementia, especially this aspect of sleep apnea which is called intermittent hypoxia, meaning recurrent drops in oxygen levels and blood. :16
Polotsky says breathing interruptions or apnea don't always result in a drop in oxygen levels in the blood.
POLOTSKY: The severity or the effect of the disease depends on how many times and how deep your oxygen desaturations occur, rather than how many times you stop breathing. :13
Polotsky says the only way to determine the risk of sleep apnea is with a formal sleep study. At Johns Hopkins, I'm Elizabeth Tracey.