Nav: Home

CPAP therapy reduces symptoms of depression in adults with sleep apnea

September 22, 2015

DARIEN, IL - A new study shows that depressive symptoms are extremely common in people who have obstructive sleep apnea, and these symptoms improve significantly when sleep apnea is treated with continuous positive airway pressure therapy.

Results show that nearly 73 percent of sleep apnea patients (213 of 293 patients) had clinically significant depressive symptoms at baseline, with a similar symptom prevalence between men and women. These symptoms increased progressively and independently with sleep apnea severity.

However, clinically significant depressive symptoms remained in only 4 percent of the sleep apnea patients who adhered to CPAP therapy for 3 months (9 of 228 patients). Of the 41 treatment adherent patients who reported baseline feelings of self-harm or that they would be "better dead," none reported persisting suicidal thoughts at the 3-month follow-up.

"Effective treatment of obstructive sleep apnea resulted in substantial improvement in depressive symptoms, including suicidal ideation," said senior author David R. Hillman, MD, clinical professor at the University of Western Australia and sleep physician at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth. "The findings highlight the potential for sleep apnea, a notoriously underdiagnosed condition, to be misdiagnosed as depression."

Study results are published in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep disease afflicting at least 25 million adults in the U.S. Untreated sleep apnea increases the risk of other chronic health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, stroke and depression.

The study group comprised 426 new patients referred to a hospital sleep center for evaluation of suspected sleep apnea, including 243 males and 183 females. Participants had a mean age of 52 years. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the validated Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), and the presence of obstructive sleep apnea was determined objectively using overnight, in-lab polysomnography. Of the 293 patients who were diagnosed with sleep apnea and prescribed CPAP therapy, 228 were treatment adherent, which was defined as using CPAP therapy for an average of 5 hours or more per night for 3 months.

According to the authors, the results emphasize the importance of screening people with depressive symptoms for obstructive sleep apnea. These patients should be asked about common sleep apnea symptoms including habitual snoring, witnessed breathing pauses, disrupted sleep, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

-end-

The AASM and other partners in the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, which is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urge anyone with symptoms of sleep apnea to visit http://www.stopsnoringpledge.org to pledge to "Stop the Snore" by talking to a doctor.

The study was supported by a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia.

To request a copy of the study, "Depressive Symptoms before and after Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Men and Women," or to arrange an interview with the study author or an AASM spokesperson, please contact Communications Coordinator Lynn Celmer at 630-737-9700, ext. 9364, or lcelmer@aasmnet.org.

The monthly, peer-reviewed Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine is the official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a professional membership society that improves sleep health and promotes high quality patient centered care through advocacy, education, strategic research, and practice standards (http://www.aasmnet.org). The AASM encourages patients to talk to their doctor about sleep problems and visit http://www.sleepeducation.org for more information about sleep apnea and a searchable directory of AASM accredited sleep centers.

American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Sleep apnea and insomnia combination linked with depression
A new study found that men with sleep apnea and insomnia have a higher prevalence and severity of depressive symptoms than men with sleep apnea or insomnia alone.
Anti-nausea drug could help treat sleep apnea
An old pharmaceutical product may be a new treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, according to new research presented today by University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University scientists at the SLEEP 2017 annual meeting in Boston.
Sleep apnea and insomnia in African-Americans goes undiagnosed
African-Americans with sleep apnea and insomnia are rarely diagnosed with either problem, even when the severity of the two sleep disorders are likely to affect their health, according to new research presented at the ATS 2017 International Conference.
Sleep apnea may increase atrial fibrillation risk
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation (AF), according to new research presented at the ATS 2017 International Conference.
Sleep apnea may increase risk of pregnancy complications
Women with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) appear to be at greater risk for serious pregnancy complications, longer hospital stays and even admission to the ICU than mothers without the condition, according to a new study of more than 1.5 million pregnancies presented at the ATS 2017 International Conference.
Evidence insufficient regarding screening for obstructive sleep apnea
The US Preventive Services Task Force has concluded that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for obstructive sleep apnea in asymptomatic adults (including adults with unrecognized symptoms).
Regulating 'gasotransmitters' could improve care for sleep apnea
Unbalanced signaling by two molecules that regulate breathing leads to sleep apnea in mice and rats.
Sleep apnea can contribute to recurring pulmonary embolism
Researchers have found that after the first incidence of pulmonary embolism (PE), obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk for PE recurrence.
Sleep apnea immediately compromises blood pressure
A single bout of sleep apnea impacts the human body's ability to regulate blood pressure.
Sleep apnea may make lung cancer more deadly
A team of researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of Barcelona has found that intermittent hypoxia, or an irregular lack of air experienced by people with sleep apnea, can increase tumor growth by promoting the release of circulating exosomes.

Best Science Podcasts 2017

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2017. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.

Now Playing: Radiolab

Truth Trolls
Today, a third story of folks relentlessly searching for the truth. But this time, the truth seekers are an unlikely bunch... internet trolls.


Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking School
For most of modern history, humans have placed smaller humans in institutions called schools. But what parts of this model still work? And what must change? This hour, TED speakers rethink education.TED speakers include teacher Tyler DeWitt, social entrepreneur Sal Khan, international education expert Andreas Schleicher, and educator Linda Cliatt-Wayman.