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Sep 24, 2015 07:48 AM EDT

Depression could perhaps be sleep apnea, says study

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A new research study has shown that many people who think they are depressed might actually be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea or OSA, Times gazette reports

David Hillman, clinical professor at the University of Western Australia, was the senior author of the study.

David stated that effective treatment for OSA leads to a lot of improvement in symptoms of depression that included suicidal thoughts. Common symptoms of sleep apnea include pauses in breathing, snoring, disrupted night sleep and consequently, excessive sleepiness during daytime.

The study shows that the symptoms of depression and obstructive sleep apnea are very common and these symptoms show a marked improvement when the patient is treated with continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP). The study also highlighted the fact that OSA is an under-diagnosed condition that is commonly misdiagnosed as depression.

Under the study, 426 patients with a mean age of 52 years were referred to a sleep centre in the hospital for evaluating suspected sleep apnea. Of all the participants, 293 were diagnosed to have sleep apnea. These patients were prescribed the CPAP therapy. About 73% of patients diagnosed for sleep apnea had symptoms of depression. These symptoms increased according to the severity of sleep apnea. However, these depressive symptoms only sustained in 4 percent sleep apnea patients who received the CPAP therapy for three months.

The findings appeared in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. 

 

 

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