America’s public health epidemic is getting more play in the New York Times. This time a blogger is making the case that obesity is bad for your brain.
The author references studies comparing brain scans of average and severely overweight people. Obese people, on average, tended to have smaller, more atrophied brains - a feature of dementia.
The blogger offers a list of suggested causes, included genetics and fat cell secretions that damages brain cells. Here at the Sleep Education blog we want to focus on an aspect the blogger only briefly mentioned: obesity, obstructive sleep apnea and brain function.
The disorder, most commonly affecting obese middle age men, has been linked to progressive brain damage. Men with untreated OSA have less brain gray matter, which may lead to cognition problems.
Stroke risk is also elevated. In a study published earlier this month, researchers found men with mild to severe forms of obstructive sleep apnea were nearly three times more at risk of having a stroke than their peers. For women, the risk for stroke only really increased during severe cases of sleep apnea.
Treatment options are available. The AASM recommends dietary weight loss combined with either CPAP or an oral appliance.
Find out if you have symptoms of sleep apnea and if you’re at risk.
Then go to sleepeducation.com to learn how CPAP therapy can save your life.
Get treatment at an AASM-accredited sleep center near you.