Can Sleep Apnea Cause Brain Damage


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Correlation In The Hippocampus

Study shows link between sleep apnea and Alzheimers

After adjusting for factors such as age, body mass index , and sex, the researchers found that severity of sleep apnea a person experienced significantly correlated with the amount of amyloid plaque in their hippocampus.

Sleep apnea correlated less well with the number of neurofibrillary tangles in their hippocampus, and there was no significant correlation after adjusting for age.

When examining the brainstem samples, the researchers found that although about two-thirds contained tangles and a fifth contained amyloid plaques, their amounts did not correlate with the severity of sleep apnea.

In Alzheimers disease, plaques and tangles first appear in a cortical area close to the hippocampus called the parahippocampal gyrus. The lesions then progress to the hippocampus, before spreading to the rest of the cortex.

The same pattern of progression seems to occur in sleep apnea.

In cases of mild sleep apnea, we could only find plaques and tangles in the cortical area near the hippocampus, precisely where they are first found in Alzheimers disease, says Prof. Robinson.

What Causes Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea is caused by problems with the way your brain controls your breathing while you sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by conditions that block airflow through your upper airways during sleep. For example, your tongue may fall backward and block your airway.

Causes of sleep apnea. The figure shows how your tongue and soft palate can block your airway during sleep. Medical Illustration Copyright © 2022 Nucleus Medical Media, all rights reserved.

Your age, family history, lifestyle habits, other medical conditions, and some features of your body can raise your risk of sleep apnea. Healthy lifestyle changes can help lower your risk.

Sleep Apnea Treatment In Houston Tx

At Sonrisa Dental Care, we are dedicated to not only our patients oral health but also their overall health and well-being. We are proud to offer various Houston sleep apnea treatment options for our patients interested in improving their sleep apnea and symptoms associated with the condition.

  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty During a UPPP procedure, excess tissue located in the mouth and throat are removed, allowing the patient to breathe better while sleeping by reducing obstruction of the airway.
  • Maxillomandibular Advancement During the maxillomandibular advancement procedure, the jaw is moved away from the other facial bones, providing more room behind the soft palate, reducing obstruction of the patients airway.
  • Tracheostomy In extremely severe sleep apnea cases where other treatment options have failed, a Tracheostomy may be recommended. This procedure involved inserting a tube into the throat which aids in breathing.

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Memory Loss And Cognitive Impairment

Research has shown that sleep apnea may make it more difficult for short-term memories to be stored as long-term memories. An important part of the long-term memory creation process occurs during sleep. Because apnea disrupts sleep, it also disrupts this function, which can lead to memory loss. A study by New York University researchers found that subjects with sleep apnea may experience mild cognitive impairment as much as 10 years earlier than subjects without sleep disorders. The study also indicated that the disease might lead to earlier onset of Alzheimer’s disease in some people with the condition.

What Kinds Of Brain Damage Happen With Sleep Apnea

How Obstructive Sleep Apnea Damages the Brain

Studies have shown that long-term sleep apnea leads to changes in the volume of many different parts of the brain, including both the gray matter and the white matter . Because the brain is believed to repair itself during sleep, it makes sense that sleep deprivation would lead to damage to the brain over time.

Patients with sleep apnea often notice changes such as impaired memory, depressed mood, and inability to concentrate. These are a result of the effects of OSA on the brain.

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How Is Sleep Apnea Related To Brain Damage

To better understand the link between sleep apnea and brain damage, its important to familiarize yourself with the inner workings of this sleep disorder.

First, Obstructive Sleep Apnea is known to cause many damaging effects that can directly impact the brain. The primary danger of OSA involves a temporary pause in the flow of oxygen. This halt in airflow can be extremely dangerous for OSA patients. When your breathing pauses or stops completely during sleep, your blood oxygen levels drop dramatically, which may lead to headaches or shortness of breath. In more severe cases, low blood oxygen levels might begin to interfere with your heart and brain function, causing potential long-term cardiovascular effects or brain damage.

Central Sleep Apnea is more directly connected with brain function. Those with CSA tend to experience frequent pauses in their breathing during sleep. Unlike Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which is mainly a result of a blocked airway, Central Sleep Apnea normally occurs because your brain fails to send the appropriate signals to your respiratory muscles to breathe. This can lead to irregularities in breathing while you sleep.

According to some research, CSA is often associated with heart disease, stroke, and other serious medical conditions. The onset of these medical conditions may lead to various forms of brain damage in the long run.

Physical Changes In The Brain

Sleep apnea can change the shape of the brain over time. Because people with apnea stop breathing during sleep, the brain is temporarily deprived of oxygen, which can result in brain damage. A study conducted by the UCLA School of Nursing found decreased amounts of both gray and white matter in subjects with apnea when compared to similar subjects without it. The study also found changes in the levels of neurotransmitters that affect thinking and physical functions, such as blood pressure and perspiration. Seung Bong Hong of the Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea, concluded that decreased sleep quality and brain damage could lead to poor memory, emotional problems and decreased cognitive functioning.

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High Blood Pressure And Heart Rate

Parts of the brain that manage blood pressure and heart rate are damaged during sleep apnea. These centers response to blood pressure changes and autonomic heart rate. They include:

  • Ventrolateral media
  • Together, these areas control the bodys deep response of heart rate and blood pressure.

    The links between snoring, sleep apnea symptoms and heart disease is well established. While there may be direct effects on the heart, damage to the brain may be the mechanism by which heart disease occurs.

    Sleep Apnea Changes The Shape Of The Brain

    Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury

    The mental symptoms of sleep apnea are more serious than the temporary grogginess caused by drowsiness. During an apnea the subject actually stops breathing, which starves the brain of oxygen. This duress, paired with chronic fatigue, can cause physical, measurable brain damage.

    Researchers at UCLA compared the mammillary bodiesstructures in the brain that are important in memory storageof several adults suffering from sleep apnea with those of healthy people. They found that the bodies in the troubled sleepers were nearly 20% smaller than in their untroubled counterparts.

    Furthermore, multiple studies have discovered a decrease in both gray and white matter in the brains of subjects with OSA. A study published in Sleep journal found significant reductions in gray matter concentrations in certain areas of the brain. This led principal investigator Doctor Seung Bong Hong of the Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul to conclude that Poor sleep quality and progressive brain damage induced by OSA could be responsible for poor memory, emotional problems, decreased cognitive functioning and increased cardiovascular disturbances. In 2008, a UCLA study found significant damage in the brains fiber pathways and structural alterations in its white matter, especially in areas that regulate mood, memory, and blood pressure.

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    Short And Long Term Memory

    Sleep apnea is often associated with progressive brain fog and memory loss.

    People with sleep apnea have a decrease in the size of the hippocampus. Its the part of the brain that controls short and long-term memory. Its known to be first damaged in Alzheimers disease.

    Brain imaging confirms that snoring and sleep apnea shrink the hippocampus. These areas can be partially regenerated with CPAP .

    Gregory John Vitale* Kimberly Capp Kimberly Ethridge Maggie S Lorenzetti Mary Jeffrey John Skicki And Ashley Stripling

    College of Psychology, Nova Southeastern University, Florida, USA

    *Corresponding author: Gregory John Vitale, College of Psychology, Nova Southeastern University, 3301 College Ave., Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 33314, USA, Tel: 9548298479, E-mail: J Sleep Disord Manag,JSDM-2-008, , Review ArticleReceived: November 16, 2015: Accepted: February 06, 2016: February 10, 2016Citation: Vitale GJ, Capp K, Ethridge K, Lorenzetti MS, Jeffrey M, et al. Sleep Apnea and the Brain: Neurocognitive and Emotional Considerations. J Sleep Disord Manag 2:008Copyright:© 2016 Vitale GJ, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

    Another budding avenue of research has indicated that various neurocognitive and mood disorders are linked to OSA. Research investigating the neurocognitive and mood changes exhibited in hypoxia prominent OSA has shown that several domains are affected. These domains include neuropsychological functioning, executive functioning, attention, memory, intelligence, dementia, and depression.

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    Obstructive Sleep Apnea Can Cause Brain Damage: Study

    Obstructive sleep apnea is causing brain damage by breaking down the blood-brain barrier a vital player in the safeguarding of brain tissue. A recent study at UCLA uncovered the first evidence that proves the dangers of obstructive sleep apnea on the brain.

    When the blood-brain barrier is broken or compromised, it is not able to function properly in its protective role. When it is functioning, it is able to limit dangers to the brain such as infections, chemicals and harmful bacteria by successfully protecting the brain tissue. However, a compromised blood-brain barrier is linked to substantial damage in the brain, leading to epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, meningitis, Alzheimers disease and other serious conditions.

    Obstructive sleep apnea is a fairly common, and often serious sleep disorder, affecting around 22 million adults in the U.S. During sleep, it causes repeated disruptions in breathing by narrowing or blocking the airways. It most commonly affects those who are overweight, middle aged or older adults. Disrupted breathing is caused when the throat relaxes and is often noticeable due to its most common symptom: snoring.

    The findings of the study were published in the September 1st issue of the Journal of Neuroimaging

    More info on:Sleep apnea

    How Snoring Disrupts The Healing Process Of Sleep

    Brain damage caused by severe sleep apnea is reversible

    Your brain is one of the most protected parts of your body.

    During waking hours, the blood brain barrier is tightly regulated. Its purpose is to protect brain cells from bacteria causing infection.

    In the day time, the barrier creates a build-up of metabolites and toxins in the brain. At night, your brain needs to go through a major cleaning process. Sleep shuts down the other organ systems that are at work during the day.

    During sleep, neural cells relax to increase the flow of cerebrospinal fluid through out the brain. The purpose is to flush the brain of cellular buildup that cant escape when youre awake. Its a self-cleaning method that only happens during sleep.

    For healthy sleep, your body needs one thing, for you to rest, and breathe. Oxygen keeps every cell in your body running. It includes your tired brain cells that have been working all day. Snoring and lack of oxygen at night may cause oxygen deprivation to the brain.

    Research has found that sleep apnea disrupts the regulation of the bloodbrain barrier . That means that the normal cleansing process doesnt work as well as it should.

    This leads to inflammation and damage to the brain. Sleep apnea symptoms may suggest a lack of oxygen to the brain. Over time, the axons begin to decay, and messages cant be sent as quickly.

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    Can Brain Damage From Sleep Apnea Be Reversed

    One of the most common concerns among those with sleep apnea is whether their resulting brain damage can ever be reversed. Fortunately, experts have found that its possible to undo the damage brought on by Obstructive Sleep Apnea with the proper sleep apnea treatment.

    The most common form of treatment for those with sleep apnea is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure treatment. The goal of CPAP therapy is to allow those with sleep apnea to breathe more naturally and easily during sleep. Results of CPAP treatment have been particularly promising among those with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, as a CPAP machine helps prevent your upper airway from becoming blocked whenever you inhale.

    Experts have discovered that regular and consistent CPAP treatment plays a critical role in restoring the brain structure of those with sleep apnea to its normal state. CPAP therapy has been shown to improve your mood, energy levels, and overall quality of life in meaningful ways.

    How Does Sleep Apnea Affect The Brain

    Posted on: July 8, 2021

    According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, approximately 25 million Americans have some form of obstructive sleep apnea, which is a chronic disease that involves frequent pauses in a person’s breathing during sleep. Most health warnings about this condition focus on how it can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, but apnea can also negatively impact brain function.

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    End Stage Brain Disease And Sleep Apnea Symptoms

    Brian had sleep apnea symptoms for many years. Changes in the brain happen slowly and indicate long-term disease. His teeth, however, had shown the warning signs of a sleep disorder for some time.

    A lifetime of snoring and lack of oxygen during sleep end up on a path to severe disease.

    Brain damage and sleep apnea symptoms control the cycle that leads to further brain damage. As sleep breathing worsens, the body enters a cycle of brain and heart dysfunction.

    These include:

    • Alzheimers disease

    Its important to find the reasons for snoring or sleeping with mouth open. To identify sleep apnea symptoms, see your dentist or GP today.

    A sleep and airway focused dentist can identify sleep apnea symptoms.

    Dont run the risk of yourself or a partner suffering from snoring related brain damage.

    For more information on the mouth-body connection, sign up for my newsletter here.

    Does someone in the family snore? Leave your experiences in the comment section below.

    For more information on Dr. Lins clinical protocol that highlights the steps parents can take to prevent dental problems in their children:

    Want to know more? Dr Steven Lins book, The Dental Diet, is available to order today. An exploration of ancestral medicine, the human microbiome and epigenetics its a complete guide to the mouth-body connection. Take the journey and the 40-day delicious food program for life-changing oral and whole health.

    How Sleep Apnea May Damage Brain Function

    Secondary Conditions to Tinnitus VA Claims

    Those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea often struggle with symptoms like difficulty concentrating, remembering things, making decisions and reacting to situations. People may also experience mood changes associated with sleep apnea, such as irritability, increased stress, anxiety and depression.

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    What Are The Signs Of Sleep Apnea

    There are two kinds of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when air cant flow into or out of the nose or mouth, although youre trying to breathe. Central sleep apnea happens when the brain fails to send the right signals to your muscles to make you start breathing.

    Sleep apnea may be noticed more by the bed partner than by the sleeper, says Jun. Your bed partner might notice that your breathing pauses, or they may complain of your loud snoring.

    That said, snoring itselfthough annoyingisnt the same as sleep apnea. Snoring is just the vibration sound created by airway resistance. You can snore loudly and not have sleep apnea, and you may even have sleep apnea without much snoring.

    People with sleep apnea might also suffer from unexplained fatigue and mood swings, because their breathing interruptions continually wake them and prevent them from settling into a deep, nourishing sleep.

    The consequences can be significant, Jun says. We’re talking about car accidents in the daytime, lost productivity at work, mood swings, waking up feeling groggy and falling asleep in class.

    Other sufferers might wake up with a dry mouth, since sleep apnea tends to make you breathe with an open mouth, drying out your saliva. Some awaken with a headache, which may be caused by low oxygen or high carbon dioxide levels during sleep.

    How Treating Sleep Apnea Can Reverse Brain Damage

    Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

    Obstructive sleep apnea is a common disorder that can be irritating and disruptive, but few people realize that their sleep apnea can cause brain damage.

    Sleep apnea is a chronic condition where you have pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep. These pauses can last for minutes, and they can occur repeatedly throughout the night.

    When this happens, your sleep is disrupted and you may wake up. There are a few different types of sleep apnea, but the most common is OSA. This is where an obstructionâsuch as a deviated septum or sinus congestionâcauses the sleep apnea.

    Itâs not uncommon for people with sleep apnea to experience forgetfulness and slowed thinking. It has often been thought that this is due to the poor quality of sleep they get during the night.

    However, studies are now showing that memory loss and other cognitive problems could be due to brain damage. In fact, severe sleep apnea can cause significant brain damage!

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    Childhood Sleep Apnea Linked To Brain Damage Lower Iq

    Johns Hopkins MedicineMedia Relations and Public AffairsMedia Contact: Katerina Pesheva

    CHILDHOOD SLEEP APNEA LINKED TO BRAIN DAMAGE, LOWER IQ—A Wake-Up Call for Parents and Pediatricians–

    In what is believed to be the first study showing neural changes in the brains of children with serious, untreated sleep apnea, Johns Hopkins researchers conclude that children with the disorder appear to suffer damage in two brain structures tied to learning ability.

    Writing in the Aug. 22 issue of the global online journal Public Library of Science Medicine, the Hopkins investigators say they compared 19 children with severe obstructive sleep apnea to 12 children without the disorder. Using a special type of MRI, researchers identified changes to the hippocampus and the right frontal cortex. Next, using IQ tests and other standardized performance tests that measure verbal performance, memory and executive function, researchers were able to link the changes in the two brain structures to deficits in neuropsychological performance.

    The hippocampus, a structure in the temporal lobe, is vital to learning and memory storage, while the right frontal cortex governs higher-level thinking, such as accessing old memories and using them in new situations.

    Children with OSA had lower mean IQ test scores than children without OSA . Children with OSA also performed worse on standardized tests measuring executive functions, such as verbal working memory and word fluency .

    – – JHM- –

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