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Is There a Hidden Link Between Sleep Apnea and Depression?

October 3, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — drbuck @ 8:09 pm
wife upset with husband snoring loudly

For people suffering from sleep apnea in Clintonville, not only are they missing out on valuable rest, but they are also subject to other problems. Researchers have found that one of the potential side effects of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common form of sleep apnea, is depression. What is the connection, though? Furthermore, what can be done to overcome this problem? As you continue reading, a local sleep dentist goes in-depth to answer these questions.

What is OSA?

The term obstructive sleep apnea refers to frequent losses of breath while sleeping (sometimes for up to 10 seconds at a time) that result from some form of partial airway obstruction. One of the most recognizable indicators is loud snoring, which is the result of the throat muscles vibrating as air attempts to pass through.

Here are some of the contributors to the condition:

  • Weight gain
  • Enlarged tongue
  • Jaw malformation
  • Floppy throat muscles
  • Enlarged tonsils and adenoids

Still, how can sleep apnea lead to depression?

How OSA and Depression are Connected

The idea of OSA contributing to depression is first supported by the scientific and medical fact that when the body is denied proper rest, it doesn’t function at its best. That’s because it relies on a series of cyclical events to maintain homeostasis – proper sleep being one of them.

While some patients may suffer from OSA and depression concurrently, others may become depressed after they’ve been deprived sleep for a prolonged period of time.

According to the medical journal, Sleep, insomnia linked to OSA has a significant correlation to depression. The results of more recent studies were published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, showing that 46% of the test group with sleep apnea also showed signs of depression.

How OSA-Related Depression Can be Treated

Thankfully, patients dealing with OSA don’t have to settle for a sleep-deprived life and the mental health issues that can stem from it. Here are the two most utilized treatment methods:

  • CPAP Machine – The most common way to treat sleep apnea, the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine consists of a base unit, tube and mask that work in conjunction to force air into the throat during the sleep cycle.
  • Custom Oral Appliance – For eligible patients, the most convenient option is for a sleep dentist to custom-design an oral appliance, which comfortably shifts the jaw forward to keep the airway open while sleeping.

While treating depression can be difficult, it helps to be able to identify a potential contributor to the condition. With the available methods of treating OSA, a new horizon of possibilities opens for helping people overcome depression as well.

If you suspect you’re suffering from OSA, then the first step is to undergo a sleep study to get an accurate diagnosis. Then, reach out to a local sleep dentist to get the help you need. With proper rest and the right treatment protocol, you can have the peace-of-mind you’ve been looking for!

About the Author

A graduate of The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, Dr. Eric Buck specializes in treating sleep apnea. To stay abreast of the latest breakthroughs in sleep dentistry, he maintains professional affiliation with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. Dr. Buck helps patients rest better at Creative Smiles, and he can be reached for more information through his website.

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