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Obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea syndrome and cognitive impairments

Sleep apnoea-hypopnoea can occur at any age, but its prevalence increases with age.

Obstructive sleep apnoea-hypopnoea is a common condition involving apnoea (absence of breath) and hypopnoea (reduced airflow).

It causes intermittent hypoxia and poor quality, fragmented sleep. As a result, daytime functioning is significantly impaired with excessive sleepiness, fatigue and mood problems.

Sleep apnoea-hypopnoea is also associated with increased levels of multisystem diseases including hypertension; digestive disease such as nocturnal gastro-oesophageal reflux; urinary disease such as nocturia; cardiovascular events such as arrhythmia; respiratory disease; ischaemic stroke; diabetes mellitus; and a wide range of neurocognitive impairments including problems with memory and even dementia.

A recent study of 298 older women found that 45% of those with sleep apnoea-hypopnoea developed mild cognitive impairment or dementia after an average of five years compared with only 31% of those without the condition.

Age increasing

Sleep apnoea-hypopnoea can

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