Connection between depression and sleep apnea

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More than 25 million people in the United States have sleep apnea, which interrupts a person's breathing while they sleep.

When people aren't treated for sleep apnea, the brain and the rest of the body might not get enough oxygen, causing health issues down the road. Sleep apnea has been linked to increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

However all the health risk of untreated sleep apnea isn't all physical. There have also been studies that suggest if sleep apnea isn't properly treated, it can increase the risk of depression.

Dr. Daniel Herrick, a sleep medicine physician with Spectrum Health Medical Group, talked about the connection between depression and sleep apnea.

 Symptoms of depression are extremely common in people who have obstructive sleep apnea. One study suggests that as much as 73 percent of people with sleep apnea also suffer with depression.

People who suffer from sleep apnea related depression will have all the symptoms of sleep apnea like snoring, gasping, stopping breathing, and feeling tired or having little energy. However, they'll also have symptoms that come with depression such as feelings of hopelessness, feeling like a failure, loss of appetite, irritability, restless sleep and excessive sleepiness.

When suffering with sleep apnea, the body isn't getting enough oxygen  to all the important organs. The lack of oxygen can result in fatigue and can cause chronic heart or lung disease.

The best way to treat sleep apnea is to talk with a health care provider, and get tested for the appropriate treatments. They'll run special test to measure the oxygen intake in the body during the night to determine whether or not they have a sleep disorder.

There are a variety of treatment options for sleep apnea. The most popular is CPAP therapy, which is a device that helps the patient get plenty of oxygen in the body while they sleep.

Spectrum Health's department for Sleep Medicine is located on 4100 Lake Drive Southeast, Suite 100 in Grand Rapids. For more information on their programs and treatments, call (616) 391-3759.


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