Depression and Sleep Apnea Linked

Friday, May 22nd, 2015, 7:56 pm

New research from Australia suggests that men who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are also at higher risk for depression.

Carol Lang, a research fellow at the University of Adelaide found that men with undiagnosed, severe obstructive sleep apnea had more than double the risk of depression compared to men who did not have sleep apnea. Men who had both undiagnosed severe sleep apnea and excessive daytime sleepiness (a key symptom of sleep apnea), had even higher risks for depression – up to five times that of a man without sleep apnea.

“Many of the symptoms of OSA and depression overlap, such as tiredness, fatigue, daytime sleepiness, low vitality and poor concentration” said Lang, adding that she can’t explain why the conditions seem to be linked. She stated that the nature of the study that was completed prevented drawing those conclusions. The study looked at about 860 men ranging in age from 35 to 83. The study period was for five years and the men were evaluated twice for depression and they underwent sleep studies to test for obstructive sleep apnea. Severe obstructive sleep apnea is defined as stopping breathing for 10 seconds or longer, more than 30 times per hour during sleep. The same team that performed this research is now preparing a similar study looking at women. Since women experioence more depression than men, and women with OSA have been shown to experience more severe depression symptoms this study should be enlightening.

If you experience excessive daytime sleepiness, if you have been told you snore or that you stop breathing during sleep you may have obstructive sleep apnea. Most patients are  prescribed CPAP once they have been diagnosed but, unfortunately, about half of patients cannot tolerate sleeping with the CPAP machine and mask.

A great alternative is an oral appliance created by a dentist who has received training in dental sleep medicine. An oral appliance is simple to use and most patients find them extremely comfortable.

Find out more about oral appliance therapy for obstructive sleep apnea and snoring by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your consultation.

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Category: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), CPAP device

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