Sleep Apnea May Increase Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease

Sleep Apnea May Increase Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease

New research is being done about a potential link between Alzheimer’s development and sleep apnea. Anywhere between 30 and 80 percent of the elderly, or five million people total, in the United States have sleep apnea. This condition leads to an increase in plaque-building peptides that contribute to the deterioration of cognitive abilities in Alzheimer’s disease sufferers or those at risk for AD.

A study of 208 people ages 55 to 90 was done. None of the people included had any known sleep disorders. Of these 208 people, over half of them were discovered to have some level of sleep apnea. Another study of 104 people from the original study was done and found that sleep apnea does contribute to the amyloid deposits. However, the study did not prove that sleep apnea is directly linked to cognitive decline. Scientists do believe, however, that a number of factors can contribute to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s and that sleep apnea plays a vital role in overall health, and the alarming number of undiagnosed sufferers of sleep apnea needs to be addressed because sleep apnea does contribute to the buildup of amyloid deposits. Finding better ways to screen for sleep apnea can have a huge impact on the health of the elderly.

Key Points:

  • 1Research has shown that sleep apnea increases amyloid beta plaques, one of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • 2There is also a link between apnea symptoms per hour and those plaques.
  • 3While there is a link, the cause is not clear and may not be 100% causative.


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may put elderly people at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD), according to new research
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