The most common form of apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), caused by an airway blockage from soft nasal tissue in the throat and/ or nasal passages collapsing during sleep. About 18 million Americans have OSA, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Sleep apnea has been linked to potentially dangerous conditions such as high blood pressure and increased risk of stroke. Now a study adds evidence that for men, sleep apnea also increases the chance of suffering from depression.
A recent study was done including 1875 men between the ages of 35 and 83 who were evaluated twice for depression over a five-year period. A random sample of the participants, all previously undiagnosed with OSA, underwent polysomnography (a sleep study) and completed a questionnaire that assessed their level of daytime sleepiness. Results showed that men with previously undiagnosed OSA were more likely to be depressed, as were men with excessive daytime sleepiness. Men with both OSA and daytime sleepiness were four to five times more likely to have depression than men without either condition.