According to a new study looking at a large sample of US hispanics, women, but not men, are more likely to suffer neurocognitive dysfunction if they suffered from sleep apnea.

A Large, Population-Based Study

dreamstime_s_30174457The data for the study, which was presented at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, comes from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, and included 9714 Hispanic men and women between the ages of 45 and 74. Subjects were assessed for sleep apnea with a sleep test and judged according to mainstream categories (ie–AHI 0-5 means no sleep apnea), as well as based on other sleep symptoms.

Subjects were then given a series of neurocognitive tests, assessing learning, recall, fluency and symbol substitution.

Initially, correlations between sleep apnea and neurocognitive dysfunction were seen both in men and women, but after adjusting for confounders like age, weight, tobacco use, and a few other factors, the association for men disappeared,  but not for women.

Sleep Apnea, Dementia Increase with Age

Another correlation the study noted was how significantly the severity of sleep apnea increased with age. For patients age 45-54, the mean AHI was about 7.4, but for patients age 65-74, mean AHI increased to 11.5.

This study has powerful ramifications for the control of dementia and other related conditions in seniors, especially among Hispanics, who are up to 3.3 times more likely to be diagnosed with advanced dementia. However, although the association seems strongest in Hispanic women, this and other connections remind us how the already serious problem of sleep apnea is just likely to worsen with the aging of the American population.

Fortunately, sleep apnea treatment is highly effective at suppressing many sleep apnea symptoms and dangers. If you would like to learn more about sleep apnea treatment in Omaha and how it might be able to help you, please call (402) 493-4175 today for an appointment at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.