Lack of sleep could increase the risk of ailments including the Alzheimer’s disease, scientists have warned.
According to researchers, treating conditions like sleep apnea and hypopnea (shallow breathing) might lower the risk of dementia or at least slow its progression. Scientists urge that people with sleep apnea should get treatment because sleep apnea can cause cognitive [thinking] problems, which can be turned around with treatment.
“Sleep apnea affects three in 10 men and one in five women; it occurs when the upper airway closes partially or fully, causing pauses in breathing during sleep, the researchers explained.
Researchers found that sleep apnea was associated with increased development of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain. According to the researchers, sleep problems accelerate the development of amyloid plaque in both people without dementia and in those already suffering from dementia.
The findings indicated that sleep apnea was tied to increased deposits of beta-amyloid in the brain and decreases in beta-amyloid in spinal fluid. They also saw increased levels of tau protein-another marker of Alzheimer`s.The team looked at the accumulations of amyloid plaque in the brains of more than 500 people who did not have dementia.
The findings showed that people with sleep problems had more of this plaque than those who did not have sleep difficulties.