Sleep apnea in the news

Sleep apnea may be linked to depression

Depression may cause sleep problems, but a new study suggests it can work the other way around, as well.

Researchers from the University of Adelaide and the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health in Adelaide, Australia, explored the link between daytime sleepiness and depression. They examined nearly 2,000 Australian men between the ages of 35 and 83 and found that those with excessive daytime sleepiness were 10% more likely to be depressed than those who were not sleepy, according to an article in The Los Angeles Times.

Additionally, they found that the 857 men diagnosed with sleep apnea during the study were 2.1 times more likely to be depressed than those who did not have the disorder.

Other findings:

  Men who had a combination of excessive daytime sleepiness and sleep apnea were 4.2 times more likely to be depressed than those with no sleep issues.

  Men with both conditions were 3.5 times more likely to be depressed than men with only one of the conditions.

Veterans with PTSD more likely to have sleep apnea

U.S. veterans with post traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, seem to be at a higher risk of having sleep apnea, a new study reports.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing frequently stops and then starts again.

Researchers examined 195 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who visited a Veterans Affairs outpatient PTSD clinic for evaluation, according to a U.S. News & World Report online article. A reported 69% were at high risk for sleep apnea and the risk level rose along with PTSD symptom severity.

“The implication is that veterans who come to PTSD treatment, even younger veterans, should be screened for obstructive sleep apnea so that they have the opportunity to be diagnosed and treated,” says co-principal investigator Sonya Norman, a researcher at the San Diego Veterans Affairs.

“This is critical information because sleep apnea is a risk factor for a long list of health problems such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and psychological problems including depression, worsening PTSD and anxiety,” she says.

While the link between sleep apnea and PTSD in veterans is not clear, researchers suggest factors that may connect the two disorders include combat-related sleep disturbances, chronic stress from PTSD and poor sleep caused by sleep apnea.

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