An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from the not-so-silent sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is defined as a sleep disorder that causes those affected to repeatedly stop and restart breathing throughout the night. This often translates to restless nights, causing health issues such as lethargy and fatigue that reverberate throughout their waking day. But emerging research is finding that sleep apnea may be causing more problems than just restless nights and tired days. Here’s what you should know about the dangers of sleep apnea.
There are three main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and complex sleep apnea syndrome. Of these three main apnea types, the most common is obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when there is an obstruction to the throat muscles, such as pressure on other parts of the throat caused by obesity. Obstructive sleep apnea is an especially dangerous form of sleep apnea because it is usually caused by and occurs with other health problems.
According to research from the University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, patients with periodontal disease could be at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers analyzed brain tissue samples from 10 patients with Alzheimer’s disease and 10 without. Of the samples of those who did have Alzheimer’s, four of the 10 showed signs of lipopolysaccharides associated with periodontal disease in their brain tissue.