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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Bradley Jolly

Red flag signs of common sleep disorder that could lead to devastating disease

A common sleep disorder - symptoms of which include loud snoring and waking up a lot - can lead to dementia and other devastating diseases.

Doctors have warned obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), if left undiagnosed or untreated, can also cause heart issues.

People with OSA find the walls of their throat become narrower when they sleep. Its symptoms include loud snoring, waking up a lot and making gasping, snorting or choking noises while the person rests.

Studies have recently shown a link between OSA and dementia.

Professor Elizabeth Coulson and her team from the University of Queensland's brain institute and School of Biomedical found the deprivation of oxygen can cause mild cognitive impairment.

Dementia is a common brain degenerative condition (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

"We developed a novel way to induce sleep-disrupted breathing and found the mice displayed exacerbated pathological features of Alzheimer’s disease,” Professor Coulson said last year.

"It demonstrated that hypoxia – when the brain is deprived of oxygen – caused the same selective degeneration of neurons that characteristically die in dementia."

As Dementia Action Week continues, the Mirror has listed the most common symptoms and signs of OSA. The NHS says anyone should see their GP if they suffer any of these symptoms because it can, as the research shows, lead to very serious issues.

Symptoms of sleep apnoea mainly happen while you sleep.

They include:

  • breathing stopping and starting
  • making gasping, snorting or choking noises
  • waking up a lot
  • loud snoring

During the day, you may also:

  • feel very tired
  • find it hard to concentrate
  • have mood swings
  • have a headache when you wake up
Obstructive sleep apnoea can also lead to heart problems if left untreated (Getty Images)

It is estimated nearly one in two people aged 65 or over have OSA, diagnosed or otherwise.

A doctor might recommend using a device called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help with OSA.

The machine delivers enough air pressure to keep the upper airway passages open through a mask which is used when sleeping.

This can prevent both sleep apnoea and snoring, which could help further lower the risk of serious health conditions.

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