Sleep Apnea is a disorder that affect many people each night as they sleep. It causes the sleeper to stop breathing at sporadic intervals throughout the night for periods of time that can last from 10 seconds up to a minute. Often these sleepers are not even aware that their sleep cycle is being disturbed and that their body is not functioning properly. If left untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to the lowering of blood oxygen levels in the body. It will cause the heart to work harder in order to receive enough oxygen to send up to the brain, which can be harmful.
The results of a study that was done with participants of an Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) cohort led researcher Ricardo Guimarães BMG to conclude on a YouTube video blog that people who suffer from sleep disorders have a greater chance of being affected by a cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s or dementia at an earlier age. The objective of the study was to determine if a sleep disorder like apnea could play a role in the early onset of mild cognitive impairment. The results showed that participants who received treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) delayed the onset of mild cognitive impairment by the same amount of time as participants who had no sleep disorder. While participants who did not receive treatment for their sleep disorder experienced mild cognitive impairment 10 years sooner than the other participants.