A Possible Cause of Dementia?

In May 2008 I received a call while at work that sent my mother and I on a roller coaster ride. My niece stated,” Something’s wrong with Grandma! She can’t remember a thing!” So in a panic I left work and went straight to mom’s house, fearing she just had a stroke.

Mom had gone to the doctor’s that day, but didn’t remember going. Leaving my niece and I with no idea why or what mom had found out. Calling the doctor’s office they under the patient privacy act could not disclose anything to us. Which was upsetting since it was important and she could not remember a thing at all.

So we took her to the hospital, and had their routine tests done on her. Which at that time they could not find anything wrong with her? It became a puzzle. How can someone wake up that day and simply not remember one thing?

After many days and several tests, plus some retesting done. We did an oxygen saturation test on her.

A test which records while the person is asleep their oxygen levels for the night. Her records showed that the level of oxygen in her system dropped to 40% several times through out the night. A rule of thumb in this is that doctors don’t like oxygen levels to dip below 90%. 90 to 100% is considered the healthy level for oxygen in the first place.

It was later ordered by her doctor to have a sleep study done. It was at this time they discovered she had sleep apnea. So she received a c pap machine and had to keep oxygen on day and night, mainly at night.

The question still remains, how can someone forget literally over night. Go through medical test after medical test, end up being diagnosed with COPD in one lung, have sleep apnea and on top of it all be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and/or dementia? Could it be that sleep apnea is a silent culprit in this? Is it one of many factors as to the cause of dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease? As a person can have sleep apnea for years and not ever really know that is what they have, with out the sleep test being done.

So could it also be possible that at least in some cases of dementia and maybe even Alzheimer’s that the sleep disorder ( Sleep Apnea ) is the silent culprit? Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that causes a person to stop breathing for periods of time during sleep. No breath equals no oxygen flowing to the brain, over an extended period of time no oxygen can lead to what?

This is where medical research comes into play, but some logical answers are already on the board, as it is clear in most studies, lack of oxygen to the brain does cause anywhere from moderate to sever damage.

However to my knowledge there isn’t as yet a study finished on the long term effects of oxygen deprivation to the brain.

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