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Sleep Apnea Treatment Benefits Depression

Reported by: Lauren Gawthrop
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Updated: 6/12/2012 7:58 am
A lot of us have trouble sleeping. For some of us, it's because of obstructive sleep apnea. But a new study finds people who use what's know as positive airway pressure machine to treat their obstructive sleep apnea may also improve their depressive symptoms.

Sleep apnea is a sleep-related breathing disorder that occurs when the tissue in the back of the throat collapses. This blocks the airway and causes the body to stop breathing during sleep.

But new research finds that those who use a positive airway pressure, or PAP, machine for 4 hours or  more had a significant decrease in their depressive symptoms

PAP therapy keeps the airway open with a continuous stream of air.

Results show all of the study participants who used PAP showed a significant  decrease in depressive symptoms.

In addition to depression, sleep apnea also increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, so it's important to pay attention to the symptoms of the condition.

"A lot of people don't even know they have it, so if someone is tired, if they're snoring, someone says that they stop breathing at night, it's important to tell your doctor about this because sleep apnea is a treatable condition and once you treat it. Chances are you will feel better, even if you're not  sleepy, you may feel that your mood is better," said Dr. Charles Bae of Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Bae says even those who only partly followed the prescribed PAP regimen saw improvements.
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