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Sleep Apnea & Brain Damage: How Sleep Apnea Harms the Brain

A woman sitting at her computer desk yawns and rubs her forehead.

If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) you’re likely familiar with the many ways in which this disorder can disrupt your life. It impacts your general health and wellbeing, increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure. It also causes brain damage which can result in memory issues, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, depression, and other symptoms.

How Can Sleep Apnea Cause Brain Damage?

Sleep apnea interrupts your breathing during sleep, which causes a significant reduction in oxygen to the brain, leading to cell death. Additionally, our bodies repair themselves when we sleep. Sleep apnea limits the amount of time your body can actively repair brain tissue.

Many studies have shown the negative effects of sleep apnea on the brain structure itself. There has been measurable evidence found which indicates long-term sleep apnea damages both the gray matter and white matter. White matter is responsible for communication between different areas of the brain, while gray matter is responsible for processing information.

Knowing how sleep apnea impacts the brain underlines the importance of seeking treatment. Some examples of symptoms that occur in people with sleep apnea include high anxiety, depression, trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, and other cognitive functioning issues.

Does Sleep Apnea Cause Memory Loss?

Studies have found that sleep apnea can cause damage to the brain that results in impaired memory. OSA is associated with a heightened risk of developing some forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Treating Sleep Apnea with Help From A Qualified Dentist

If you suffer from sleep apnea in Park Ridge, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent long-term adverse effects. Our professionals at Beyond Smiles of Park Ridge have extensive experience improving quality of life for patients with obstructive sleep apnea.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our dental office in Park Ridge, IL.

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