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Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) affects more than just your sleep. A new study from the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease has shown a link between severe untreated OSA and dementia. Researchers found that untreated OSA patients had higher levels of beta-amyloid protein – the protein which builds up in brain arteries and increases the risk of dementia. Patients with severe, untreated OSA had the highest levels of amyloid proteins. This shows just how serious untreated sleep apnoea can be.

Moreover, the increased risk of dementia seen in OSA patients was associated with sleep quality issues – more apnoeas, poor sleep efficiency, and less slow wave sleep.

OSA is a sleep disorder characterised by snoring, choking and excessive tiredness whilst awake. If left untreated, it can have a detrimental impact on your overall health and wellbeing. In addition to dementia, OSA has been found to increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, depression, anxiety. OSA has also been found also to increase your risk of motor vehicle and workplace accidents. The good news is that OSA can be easily diagnosed via a sleep study and treated. Treatment options vary depending on severity, and include weight loss, Mandibular Advancement Splints (a.k.a mouth guards) and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). The good news is that treatment not only treats the OSA and the annoying snoring, but also reduces the associated risks mentioned above.
If you feel that you or a loved one may be suffering from OSA, you should speak to your family doctor or a Sleep Specialist and consider having a sleep study.