If you wake up every morning and don’t feel particularly well-rested, no matter how much sleep you got, you could have sleep apnea. Untreated obstructive sleep apnea, in particular, can really wreak havoc on your health in several ways.
Untreated sleep apnea can result in many negative effects on your health, including contributing to depression. If you don’t know whether you have sleep apnea, read on to see if its symptoms sound like they apply to you. Dr. Joseph Z. Yousefian of Yousefian Orthodontics for Children, Teens and Adults in Bellevue, Washington, explains more about the link between sleep apnea and depression.
What sleep apnea is
There are two types of sleep apnea: central and obstructive.
In central sleep apnea, your brain doesn’t send the signals to your muscles to allow you to keep breathing. There isn’t anything you can do to prevent central sleep apnea or to treat it on your own, as it’s a biological condition.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is much more common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as nearly half of all adults don’t get the sleep that they need, with or without obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common problem. When you have obstructive sleep apnea, your airways close, resulting in very broken sleep.
The symptoms of OSA
The symptoms of OSA are pretty recognizable, but it often goes untreated. The symptoms may include the following:
- Waking up feeling unrefreshed after a full night’s sleep
- Having a sore throat when you wake up
- Chronic, disruptive snoring
- Feeling irritable or cranky
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty concentrating
- High blood pressure
- Decreased libido
If you think that you might have sleep apnea, it’s really worthwhile to talk to a professional and get an evaluation.
The link between OSA and depression
A Stanford University School of Medicine study has found a significant link between untreated OSA and depression.
When you don’t get enough quality sleep, it takes a toll on your health in numerous ways. You’re at risk of a number of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and cognitive deterioration. But another common side effect of untreated OSA is depression, and you may have more problems finding effective treatments.
Even after accounting for obesity and high blood pressure — each a major contributing factor to both OSA and depression — the link between OSA and depression is strong.
Symptoms of depression
If you have depression, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
- Feeling unusually irritable
- Loss of pleasure or interest in things previously enjoyed, including sports or sex
- Tiredness or lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing
- A change in appetite (either not eating enough or eating too much)
If your depression is severe enough, you may even have thoughts of wishing you weren’t alive anymore. If you’re depressed, you should definitely seek help from a medical professional. Help is available, and it works.
If you think that you could have OSA or depression, you should schedule a consultation. Call Dr. Joseph Z. Yousefian at Yousefian Orthodontics for Children, Teens and Adults today or request an appointment online.