Sleep fragmentation with the elderly ups dementia and stroke risk as per the findings of a study recently published in the Stroke journal.
The elderly are prone to a cohort of medical complications, some deadly. For this reason it is important that a healthy lifestyle, including a regulated sleep schedule are followed throughout older age. Sleep fragmentation which implies several awakenings throughout the sleep cycle isn’t a healthy sign. While there are methods to ensure a good night’s sleep even as we grow older, a percentage of the elderly cannot manage sleep fragmentation.
According to Doctor Andrew Lim with the University of Toronto (Canada) and lead author of the study, a good night’s sleep is important, especially as we count more and more years. Otherwise, sleep fragmentation with the elderly ups dementia and stroke risk.
“Although it’s too early to say to for sure that improving sleep will prevent damage to brain blood vessels, this study add to the growing body of evidence that this may be the case”,
Doctor Lim, neurologist and assistant professor of neurology also stated.
The study was conducted on 315 individuals part of the Rush Memory and Aging Project. The project sees participants donating their brain for research upon death. The average age of the individuals was 90.4 years old. Of them, 70 percent were women. During the community-based cohort study, the participants wore actigraphs each two years for a period of 10 days. The research team recorded sleep efficiency, arousal and separated awake time from sleep time.
Brain studies correlated with the results of the actigraph measurements suggested that sleep fragmentation underlies an increased risk of stroke, as well as severe arteriosclerosis and other severe vascular pathology.
Overall, 29 percent of the participants suffered a clinical stroke. Another 61 percent presented at least one vascular pathology. Blood vessels were altered by sleep fragmentation. As such, with the severity of sleep fragmentation, the risk of strokes and other complications increased.
According to Doctor Lim, the study is not conclusive. However, several awakenings per night and not enjoying good quality sleep may lead to a spike of blood pressure. As such, blood vessels suffer and lead to a host of complications.
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