Treat Sleep Apnea in Alzheimer’s Patient for Improved Cognition

HealthGal Health Guide

    It's hard enough to cope with the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease and also be hopeful.  With no significant treatment at this time, the only therapy options include Aricept, good lifestyle choices including adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids and of course, brain and physical exercises.  Any therapeutic interventions that might help other ongoing health issues and also improve the cognition of an Alzheimer's patient would be a huge step forward in the forecast of Alzheimer's.  And indeed, a recent study reveals that if an Alzheimer's patient has ongoing OSA - obstructive sleep apnea - and that patient is treated with C-PAP - their cognitive functioning may improve.

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    That can translate into more independence for the patient and his or her caretaker.  C-PAP is a breathing device that provides constant pressurized air to the patient so they do not experience periods of low oxygenation.  Low oxygen delivery (which occurs in OSA) may cause worsening of the Alzheimer's (due to the low oxygen itself or the sleep fragmentation caused by OSA).  In fact, older patients with dementia or Alzheimer's seemed to be very sensitive to the impact of OSA.  Studies seem to show that Alzheimer's patients can tolerate C-PAP and adhere to the therapeutic guidelines.  So even though C-PAP is not a direct treatment of Alzheimer's disease, it should certainly be considered a tool in helping to treat a complicating health issue of Alzheimer's disease.


    Related Links:

    Obstructive sleep apnea: More on CPAP

    Snoring and Sleep Apnea

    Battling the CPAP

    Challenging the CPAP

Published On: December 07, 2008