When I was still in the diagnosis stage of why I was losing my short term memory, I was questioned about my sleep patterns. Naturally I asked, “what did my sleep patterns have to do with short term memory loss?” My Neurologist informed me, “sleep apnea may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.” So, I had the sleep study and it was determined that I had moderate sleep apnea.
First of all, if you are not familiar with Sleep Apnea, here’s how the Mayo Clinic defines it:
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. You may have sleep apnea if you snore loudly and you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep.
There are two main types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea, the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax
- Central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing
The Mayo Clinic suggests: If you think you might have sleep apnea, see your doctor. Treatment is necessary to avoid heart problems and other complications.
The study I underwent concluded that I would stop breathing on an average of 15-17 times per hour. I didn’t find out how long these periods of non breathing were but, I did the math. For an average of 8 hours of sleep, I was not breathing 168 times. I don’t know about you but, that is was quite alarming to me.
Now this does not say “sleep apnea = Alzheimer’s.” There are a lot of ingredients that go into the Alzheimer’s gumbo pot, however, according to the Alzheimer’s Site
- “A person experiencing sleep disturbances should have a thorough medical exam to identify any treatable illnesses that may be contributing to the problem. Examples of conditions that can make sleep problems worse include:
- Restless legs syndrome, a disorder in which unpleasant “crawling” or “tingling” sensations in the legs cause an overwhelming urge to move them
- Sleep apnea, an abnormal breathing pattern in which people briefly stop breathing many times a night, resulting in poor sleep quality
Talk to your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, etc. and ask them if they notice anything about your sleep patterns. They may notice things that are not noticeable to you and just may save you from a health issue down the line.
I’ll see you next time . . .