Breathing problems during sleep increase risk of depression

Individuals who have sleep-related breathing disorder appear significantly more likely to develop depression, with odds of depression increasing as breathing disorders becomes more severe, according to a study in the September 18 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, a theme issue on sleep.

Frequent pauses in breathing, labored breathing or reduced breathing during the night are hallmark signs of sleep-related breathing disorder, according to background information in the article. The disorder has been linked to a variety of negative health consequences, including cardiovascular disease and difficulty functioning during the day. Previous studies have suggested that depression improves when sleep-related breathing disorder is treated, indicating that these two common conditions are related. Characterizing the relationship, the authors write, could "guide screening for depressive symptoms in patient populations with sleep-related breathing disorder, suggest strategies for managing sleep-related breathing disorderrelated depression and alert clinicians about the possibility of untreated depression complicating adherence to sleep-related breathing disorder mitigation strategies and treatments ...."

Paul E. Peppard, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of WisconsinMadison evaluated 1,408 adults (788 men, 620 women) who were between the ages of 30 and 60 at the beginning of the study, in 1988. The participants stayed overnight in a laboratory once every four years, during which time sleep was monitored with a test known as polysomnography and breathing disturbances were recorded. By May 2005, 449 participants had completed one sleep study, 382 completed two, 319 completed three and 258 completed four, for a total of 3,202 sleep studies. At each sleep study, body mass index was recorded and interviews and questionnaires completed by participants provided information about medical history, lifestyle habits, demographics and whether they had d

Contact: Aaron Conklin
JAMA and Archives Journals

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