Monday, July 18, 2011

Depression, weight gain and sleep apnea

When a patient presents to me with depression and an overweight problem, one of the things that I look for are symptoms of sleep apnea. Hypothyroidism is also important to think about here.

So what is sleep apnea and how is it related to depression?

Sleep apnea is a very common condition which is often underdiagnosed. The main symptoms and signs of sleep apnea are, tiredness, excessive daytime sleepiness, waking up unrefreshed, sleeping behind the wheel of the car, worsening of depressive symptoms, and snoring or apnea events (ie pauses in breathing). The most common cause is obstruction of the upper airways as the soft tissue in the upper airways collapses during sleep.

Sleep apnea is often made worse by alcohol due to the sedating effect, or sleeping supine ie on the back due to the gravity effect.

Diagnosis can be made with an overnight sleep study.  Ask your doctor about this test if you have the above symptoms.

1 comment:

  1. Good rest really is important to mental health! Sometimes it can be hard to know whether sleep problems are contributing to depression, the result of depression, or both... Good information!


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