Sleep Apnea Linked To Depression
If you suffer from sleep apnea, then you’ve probably heard complaints from your bed partner about the noises your make during the night! However, science is discovering that the dangers of sleep apnea go much farther than simply providing an annoyance to your spouse. Research is now revealing that sleep apnea may be linked to depression in some cases.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects 22 million people across the United States and, while it may be common, it is still serious. When someone experiences sleep apnea, it means that they breathe very shallowly or stop breathing completely while they are asleep. Although this may last only a few seconds, some people experience shallow or non-existent breathing for minutes. When the patient begins to breathe again, they may become choked or begin to snore. Some individuals average between 5-30 periods of apnea per hour. People who experience sleep apnea are usually exhausted from the lack of oxygen and the strain on the body.
Sleep Apnea and Depression
A study that involved 10,000 adults who experienced sleep-apnea symptoms reveal that there may be a distinct link to depression. This study goes hand-in-hand with previous research that has also shown a significant connection between them two. In one study, individuals who reported experiencing sleep-apnea symptoms on a regular basis were three times more likely to endue major depression. While some people doubt the results, others suggest that dealing with sleep issues is just as important as taking healthy measures such as dropping smoking.
How Can Sleep Apnea Make One Depressed?
While it’s difficult to truly pinpoint the reason that those who experience sleep apnea are more depressed, some professionals point toward a lack of oxygen. Those who experience times when they don’t breathe are starving their brains of much-needed oxygen and also interrupt their sleep cycle when their bodies are forced to spring back into action to prompt proper breathing. Some doctors suggest that sleep problems could result in depression that would only grow worse when the problems persist. Anne G. Wheaton, Ph.D., who lead a recent study, reported that sleep apnea-type symptoms were consistently associated with people feeling hopeless and like failures. While further research is still necessary to completely understand how sleep apnea and depression are related, there is an obvious connection.
How is Sleep Apnea Traditionally Treated?
While sleep apnea is often treated with breathing machines that force air into the patient’s lungs during the night, some people also find relief from oral appliances that hold the tongue in place. Some patients choose to go a more extreme route and opt for invasive surgeries that are supposed to help increase airflow.
Can Orthodontic Care Improve Sleep Apnea?
In some cases, individuals are finding relief from their symptoms thanks to orthodontic care. With the use of braces and orthodontic help, it is possible to reshape the jaw and tooth alignment, helping to improve airflow and decrease the risk of sleep apnea. Along with braces, orthodontists and dentists often choose to couple these treatments with special appliances so that individuals can receive the best results.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can not only be severely damaging to one’s body but also to their mental well-being. By working to eliminate the problems associated with sleep apnea, patients can look to decrease their risk of depression. With the use of orthodontic and dental care, you can start to achieve oral alignment that will promote better breathing along with the use of an appliance. With orthodontic care, you can expect to receive a straighter smile that will boost your confidence while you take the necessary steps to reduce your sleep apnea symptoms.
Are you experiencing sleep apnea linked to depression? Contact us today to arrange a free consultation and let us help you find a solution.