Obstructive sleep apnea linked to higher Alzheimer's risk

(WXYZ) - Sleep apnea is pretty common, in fact even I have this health issue.  

So this latest study certainly has grabbed my attention. Over 100 older folks between the ages of 55 and 90 took part.  Everyone had PET brain scans along with cerebrospinal fluid withdrawn, which is the fluid contained by the brain and spinal cord.  

After two years, researchers found a link between severe obstructive sleep apnea and an increase of amyloid-beta deposits that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. 

The study period was short and researchers did not see any link between severe sleep apnea and any onset of cognitive impairment in the participants. 

So the results only point to a link.  

But if you have severe sleep apnea I would urge you to get it treated because you’re also at risk for a heart attack and type 2 diabetes. So here are my prescriptions:

Partha’s RX:

1. Make lifestyle changes.  Lose weight if you need to as this can help relieve airway constriction.

2. Don’t smoke.  Nicotine relaxes your throat muscles that keep the airways open. 

3. Sleep on your side or stomach and not on your back. Otherwise your tongue can block your airway when it rests against the back of your throat. 

4. Avoid alcohol and medications like sleeping pills and sedatives. They can slow your breathing and worsen your sleep. 

Symptoms to look out for are waking up gasping for air, snoring that disturbs your sleep or the person next to you, and excessive daytime sleepiness.  

See your family doctor who can evaluate your symptoms. He or she may refer you to a sleep specialist or an ear nose and throat doctor to look for potential blockages.

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