Sleep Apnea and Progressive Brain Damage


This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

Researchers have found yet another reason why people with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) should get tested and treated for the disease. According to a recent study published in the journal SLEEP, patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea syndrome demonstrated reduced brain gray matter concentration. “Gray matter” refers to the cerebral cortex, where most information processing in the brain takes place.

Principal investigator Seung Bong Hong, MD, PhD explained, “…poor sleep quality and progressive brain damage induced by OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) could be responsible for poor memory, emotional problems, decreased cognitive functioning and increased cardiovascular disturbances… The use of continuous positive airway pressure – CPAP – therapy could stop further progression of brain damage in patients with severe OSA.”

If you are not sure whether or not you have sleep apnea, here are some signs you can look for –

  • Chronic snoring is a strong indicator of sleep apnea and should be evaluated by a health professional.
  • Since people with sleep apnea tend to be sleep deprived, they may suffer from sleeplessness.

Learn more about Obstructive Sleep Apnea.