Hannibal Regional Blog


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sleep and alzheimer's November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month. According to the Alzheimer's’ Association more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, making it the 6th leading cause of death in America.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep loss may precede Alzheimer’s. Sleep is disrupted in people who likely have early Alzheimer's disease but do not yet have the memory loss or other cognitive problems characteristic of full-blown Alzheimer’s disease. According to a study performed by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, there is a link between poor sleep and brain plaques seen in the brains of those who suffer from Alzheimer's disease. The study looked at the program participant’s sleep efficiency, a measure of how much time in bed is spent asleep. The study showed the worst sleepers, those with a sleep efficiency lower than 75 percent, were five times more likely to have preclinical Alzheimer's disease than good sleepers. Sleep problems are common in people who have symptomatic Alzheimer's disease, but scientists recently have begun to suspect that poor sleep may also be an indicator of early Alzheimer’s disease.

We know that poor sleep affects diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Now Alzheimer’s disease may be added to the list. If you struggle with poor sleep, contact your healthcare provider. You could have an undiagnosed sleep disorder such as Sleep Apnea. Hannibal Regional Hospital Sleep Lab staff can answer questions you have about sleep, contact us at 573-248-5344.

Mary Duesterhaus, RPSGT, REEGT, CRT
Clinical Coordinator Neurodiagnostics
Hannibal Regional Hospital - Sleep Services

Hannibal Sleep ApneaWe all know we should eat a heart healthy diet and exercise daily. Did you know that your sleep can be as important for heart health as diet and exercise?

People with cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke have a high prevalence of sleep apnea. Studies show that if you have sleep apnea today, the chance that you will develop hypertension in the future increases significantly.
When people with high blood pressure or heart failure are treated for sleep apnea, the measures of blood pressure or heart failure are significantly improved. According to sleep medicine experts, there is good evidence to think there is a cause-and-effect relationship between hypertension and sleep apnea.

Your blood pressure will go up because when you're not breathing, the oxygen level in your body falls and excites receptors that alert the brain. In response, the brain sends signals through the nervous system and essentially tells the blood vessels to "tighten up" in order to increase the flow of oxygen to the heart and the brain, because they have priority. Sleep apnea causes low oxygen levels at night. These low oxygen levels seem to trigger multiple mechanisms that persist during the daytime, even when breathing normally.
Atrial fibrillation is a common type of irregular heart beat that is also associated with sleep apnea. If sleep apnea is untreated, the chance of a recurrence of atrial fibrillation can increase up to 80%.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea include loud and chronic (ongoing) snoring. Pauses may occur in the snoring. Choking or gasping may follow the pauses. You may also battle sleepiness during the day, at work, or while driving. You may find yourself rapidly falling asleep during the quiet moments of the day when you're not active.

You may suffer from morning headaches, memory or learning problems and difficulty concentrating. Mood swings, irritability, depression or personality changes are also signs of a sleep disorder. Many people with sleep apnea report waking up frequently to urinate, and complain of a dry mouth or a sore throat when they wake.

If you think you may have a sleep disorder, please talk to your health care provider. You may need a sleep study.

Mary Duesterhaus, RPSGT,REEGT,CRT Clinical Coordinator Neurodiagnostics - Hannibal Regional - Sleep Services