Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Is your sleep apnea depressing your partner?

Treating obstructive sleep apnea isn’t only in your best interest; your partner too will benefit. Nobody wants to share a bed with a loud snorer, and chances are you’re stealing their sleep. New findings show you might also be making your bed partner depressed.

The good news is you can cure their depression by seeking an OSA treatment such as an oral appliance. The less you snore the better your partner will likely feel.

The study involved 36 patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea and their spouses. Each patient underwent a clinical sleep study at the start of the trial to assess their OSA. At the same time their partners were screened for depression and daytime sleepiness.

Researchers then used a two-part surgical procedure called radiofrequency tissue ablation to treat the subjects’ sleep apnea. The patients and their spouses were given the same tests when they returned for a follow up 2-3 months after the second surgical session.

Every patient had fewer measured breathing pauses, and their spouses scored lower on the depression assessments – both significant improvements.

The findings demonstrate reducing the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea can make your partner feel less depressed, regardless the choice of treatment.

The authors of the study argue the daytime sleepiness, fatigue and cognitive impairment associated with sleep disturbances can undermine relationships with their families. These problems may go away when the cause of the sleep disturbance is eliminated.

AADSM members can read the entire study in the June issue of Sleep and Breathing.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.