Obstructive Sleep Apnea’s Role with Cognition, Multimorbidity, and Mental Health
thesisposted on 01.12.2018, 00:00 by Larissa Gray
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by an obstruction in the throat which halts breathing. Consequently, the person’s sleep is disrupted many times every hour, and affected individuals are at a heightened risk of death when they go to sleep. The purpose of this literature review is to examine the chronic effects from hypoxia. Cognitive impairments, associations with multimorbidity and a correlation with damaged mental health are all studied effects of untreated obstructive sleep apnea. Studies were chosen that analyzed the damage resulting from hypoxia. The results show that there appears to be a correlation with untreated obstructive sleep apnea and cognitive impairment ranging from memory loss, decreased psychomotor speed, and problems with recall. A reduction in grey matter volume in the brain was also observed. Improvement in cognitive ability and an increase in grey matter volume was found after repetitive treatment in most studies. Heightened instances of multimorbidity were observed in those with severe OSA. Correlations with problems of mental health were unclear and appeared to have no true causation but had shared independent symptoms found in both mental illness and OSA. This literature review illustrates a need for more research for sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea because of correlations with chronic impairment that affect the quality of daily life. There is high demand to understand the complete mechanism from hypoxia that leads to these impairments and also a need to make this underdiagnosed disorder a more common concern in primary care environments.