Sleep Apnea Tied to Depression in Men

A new study has shown a link between severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and excessive daytime sleepiness with an increased risk of depression in men.

“An association between sleep apnea and depression has been noted in some earlier studies,” said lead author Carol Lang, Ph.D, from the University of Adelaide in Australia. “Our study, in a large community-based sample of men, confirms a strong relationship even after adjustment for a number of other potential risk factors.”

The study, presented at the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference, involved 1,875 men between the ages of 35 and 83 who were assessed for depression two times over a five-year period. A random sample of 857 men without previously diagnosed OSA underwent at home polysomnography and completed the Epworth Sleepiness Scale questionnaire.

After adjusting for potential confounders, the study found that previously undiagnosed severe OSA was associated with an increased prevalence of depression, as was excessive daytime sleepiness.

Men who had both previously undiagnosed OSA and excessive daytime sleepiness were four to five times more likely to have depression than men without either condition, the researchers reported.

“Excessive daytime sleepiness and severe OSA were both associated with the prevalence and recent onset of depression in our community-based sample of men, and the presence of both was associated with an even greater risk,” said Lang.

“Men presenting with depression should be screened for OSA, so that an appropriate course of treatment can be planned.”

Source: American Thoracic Society