Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Snoring is one of signs of sleep apnea

MIAMI — Shary Smith never suspected that her memory lapses had anything to do with her snoring. But when she looked up "short-term memory loss" on the Internet after her neurologist's diagnosis, sleep apnea popped up.

"I never thought of putting two and two together," said the Weston retiree. "I didn't think they were related."

A sleep study confirmed she had sleep apnea, a disorder that causes pauses in breathing or very shallow breathing during the night. She was fitted with a continuous positive airway pressure device, more commonly known as a CPAP, eight years ago. Her sleep is better now, and her memory hasn't gotten any worse.

About 12 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Yet, the America Sleep Association estimates that as many as 80 percent are undiagnosed. Untreated sleep apnea can be dangerous.

"It affects your brain health and your heart health," says Cleveland Clinic neurologist Dr. Po-Heng Tsai.

Sleep apnea has been linked to diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. More recently it has been associated with cognitive impairment and dementia.

Without deep sleep, people cannot retain information. Their reflexes slow. They can't concentrate, experience mood swings, suffer from morning headaches and feel irritable.

"Sleep is important for memory consolidation," Tsai says. "It's vital for the processing of information."

Sleep apnea is more common in older people and as many as 60 percent may suffer from it, says Dr. Alberto Ramos, co-director of UHealth Sleep Center and assistant professor of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The good news is that seniors can be screened for sleep problems, including sleep apnea. If diagnosed and treated early, a person can enjoy deep, restful slumber. For those suffering from cognitive impairment, it may even slow the rate of mental decline.

"I don't think I've recovered what I lost," Smith says, but "I'm not getting worse."

Snoring is one of signs of sleep apnea 06/05/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 6:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Coming to Hulu in August: 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure,' 'Saw' movies and more

    Blogs

    Hello, binge-worthy new additions to Hulu. Clue, Clueless and five Saw movies? You spoil us, Hulu.

    Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
  2. Whitman: Hollywood whitewashing raises questions about Jesus' depiction

    Religion

    I grew up believing in white Jesus.

    A painting on my grandma's wall depicted a blonde, blue-eyed Christ.

  3. Special sorority seeks ways to help their Green Berets and themselves during St. Leo summit

    War

    ST. LEO — Julie Huynh-Rusk lies down on the floor of a St. Leo University conference room, covered by a blanket and a pink eye-pillow.

    Julie Huynh-Rusk, 31, of Seattle, takes advantage of a meditation session at Saint Leo University on Wednesday as part of the Steel Mags Summer Summit. 
The Steel Mags Sorority was founded to help spouses, daughters, mothers, and sisters of  Green Berets. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times]

  4. Watch: Sarasota vlogger goes on viral rant against MTV's 'Siesta Key'

    Blogs

    Looking forward to MTV’s Siesta Key? Well, this Florida native definitely is not.

    Vlogger Louie Carey posted his reaction to MTV's "Siesta Key" in a viral video.
  5. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 23: Of tiny towns, wonderful naps and dreamlike ice cream bars

    Travel

    Day 23: Murias de Rechivaldo to Foncebadon: 20.8 km, 6 hours. Total for Days 1-23 = 541 km (336 miles)