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Learn How Sleep Apnea and Depression are Linked

January 22, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — sleepbetterchicagoland @ 8:51 pm
A woman with depression staring out a window.

According to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, more than 70% of people with sleep apnea experience symptoms of depression. Sleep dentists and researchers alike cannot stress enough that those with sleep apnea could develop depression later life without dedicated treatment. If you been exhibiting signs of depression and sleep apnea or your treatment for depression has not be as effective as it should be, you’ll want to keep reading as well as get in touch with a sleep dentist.

The Link Between Depression and Sleep Apnea

In the study published by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, researchers examined 426 individuals, 243 men and 183 women, to better understand the potential link between sleep apnea and depression. Sleep apnea already holds a known connection between chronic health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Following a patient questionnaire to assess sleep symptoms as well as sleep studies to confirm the severity of sleep apnea participants that had, they were able to confirm the following:

  • 293 participants were diagnosed with sleep apnea, while 213 (73%) had symptoms of depression.
  • The greater the severity of sleep apnea a patient had, the higher their likelihood of depressive symptoms became.
  • Here’s the good news: researchers found that the 228 participants with sleep apnea who followed recommended CPAP therapy for at least 3 months experienced a significant drop in depressive symptoms.

What Symptoms Should You Look Out For?

The most common sign of sleep apnea is snoring, however, this symptom alone does not guarantee if sleep apnea is present. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep the following additional symptoms in mind if you’ve either been struggling to get to sleep or suffering from symptoms of depression. This is particularly important if you are already receiving treatment for depression with little positive results. Common signs of sleep apnea include:

  • Waking up gasping for air
  • Morning headaches
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Irritability or sudden mood swings
  • Frequent nighttime urination

How a Sleep Dentist Could Help You

Thankfully, there are dedicated treatments available that work to mitigate the most severe symptoms of sleep apnea, therefore reducing your risk of developing depressive symptoms. For example, a sleep dentist can provide a custom-made oral appliance that shifts the position of the jaw and makes breathing easier during sleep. They may also recommend combined therapy, which makes use of a CPAP machine and oral appliance, allowing patients to lower the settings on their CPAP for easier use.

If you are unsure if you have sleep apnea in the first place, you can perform a sleep study under an expert’s supervision to receive the most accurate diagnosis possible. This ensures you get the targeted treatment you need. If you’re experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea or you believe your treatment for depressive symptoms is not as effective as it should be, consider calling a sleep dentist today!

About the Author

Dr. David B. Schwartz has been practicing dentistry for over 30 years and is currently a diplomate of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. His expertise in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea through personalized treatments is sure to give you confidence in your future overall health. To learn more or schedule an appointment, you can contact him through his website.

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